We dug out the old bird feeder from last year and hung it from a pole attached to the patio. My husband put peanuts in shells in the centre of the feeder and a suet block down the side cage facing the patio door so we could watch the activity around the feeder.
As I hung the feeder from the pole, two of the neighbourhood crows were flying overhead. They saw me and by the time I was back in the house with my camera in hand, crows were on the patio rail.
These are the neighbourhood crows I have to fend off when it comes to the grapes I grow around the patio support poles. While the trees in our backyard are not mature, several doors up, mature trees are full of crows on occasion. The murder misses nothing that goes on in the neighbourhood. They also spread the word. Before long four crows were lined up on the railing, waiting for a turn at the feeder.
There are crows which live along the boardwalk where we walk regularly. We have never seen them show interest in the peanuts people leave for the squirrels and birds. However, the neighbourhood crows were interested in the peanuts in our feeder. The only problem was the swaying of the feeder from the slight breeze or their touch. When the feeder moved towards them, the birds flew off or moved away.
Over a few hours, the crows learned to resist their fear and grab the peanuts, not just one either.
They often took as many as four and flew off with them. It looked like they swallowed some, shells and all, and took two in their beaks. We couldn’t tell the birds apart so as to know how long it took an individual to eat or store the peanuts and return.
The suet, which they love is another story. The location of the suet basket made it hard for the crows to eat. It dangles over the deck. Meanwhile, Blue Jays, which also happened by, had no trouble landing on the swinging feeder.
The larger crows couldn’t manage at all. However, they didn’t want the jays around either. The jays obliged.
We watched as a crow landed on either side of the railing, tipping its head to the side, as if sizing up how to get the suet. One crow tried to land on the side of the feeder, tipping it almost horizontally. The bird flew off.
Another time, a crow landed on the suet basket but couldn’t manage to eat the suet as its large body covered it and the feeder was tipped. When it flew to the railing, it ate the suet off its claws which it picked up during the attempt.
Crows are smart so I look forward to seeing how they solve this dilemma. Meanwhile I feel bad for the jays who didn’t get much of anything from the feeder thus far.
We also had the neighbourhood flock of starlings visit the backyard and ten or more came onto the railing. Their frenetic demeanour is almost overwhelming to watch. They only stayed seconds.
And the story continues...