Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two on crows: "6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think," from Cracked; and "Frequently Asked Questions About Crows," by Dr. Kevin J. McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. From the latter:
Crows do have one endearing characteristic that is apparently not shared by other birds. They will get to know people as individuals. While you can get chickadees to eat out of your hand, any old hand will do, and I suspect that the chickadees do not know you as an individual. Crows will! If you toss them peanuts (I recommend unsalted, in the shell) on a regular basis, they will wait and watch for you. Not just any person, but you. If you do this often enough, they will follow you down the street to get more. I have made a point of getting on the good side of a number of crow families around Ithaca. Some will follow my car down the street, and if I don't notice them and toss them peanuts they will dash across the windshield to let me know they are there. Some of these crows recognize me far from their home territories, way out of context. (It did, however, take some of them a long time to learn to recognize my new car.) So indulge yourself and makes some personal friends with the crows. That is the preferred relationship, because they also are happy to turn this talent of recognition to the darker side, and treat you as an enemy. (Again, not just all people, but YOU.) Because I climb to crow nests to band young birds, many crows in Ithaca know me and hate me. Whenever they notice me in their territory they will come over and yell at me. They will follow me around and keep yelling for as long as I am there. Believe me, it's better to be on their good side than their bad side!
A few crows have been squabbling outside my house this weekend. I went searching the Web to see if anyone likes the noise they make, because I sure don't. I think Dr. McGowan may qualify.