Saturday, September 22, 2012


Today was the crow family's lucky day.  I made chicken soup for my daughter's family yesterday since they were under the weather.  I saved all the chicken fat and brought it home for the crows.  So today they had a gourmet meal of chicken fat, peanuts in the shell, left over cat food kibbles and 2 old chicken eggs.  A veritable FEAST for crows.  There were 8 crows at one time trying to get on the platform feeder.  Some had to hang out on the rose arbor and wait their turn.  When they had cleaned up the food most of the crows flew away.  BUT- one crow stayed behind in the big valley oak tree next door.  Chuck and I were sitting under a live oak tree in the backyard having our lunch - hark what did I hear???  A knocking crow.  The ravens on Mt. Veeder knocked and clacked all the time but I had never heard the crow do it like he was doing it today.  He was knocking and clacking and really going to it.  I loved it!!  I kept talking to him- hey Mr. Crow- I like your knocking etc.  I think he likes it when I talk to him.  This is the crow that recognizes me.  The one who looks like he was in a fight since he is missing some feathers.  Maybe all the good food caused him to knock and clack!  How fun it was for me to hear.  I think I will have to get another crow banquet together.  I can see chicken soup in my future- maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby Crow Forever

I have spent the summer watching the antics of the crow family that visits me on a daily basis.  There is a real difference between ravens and crows with regards to babies.  By now- mid September, the young ravens have left their parents and joined up with a group of young ravens.  The parent birds make sure the "BABY" has left their territory by August.  My friends on Mt. Veeder told me this was a good year for baby ravens.  The mated pairs had 3 to 4 babies this year and as a result there was alot of raven noise heard in the forest this summer.  Several people complained to me about all the racket- imagine- they did not love the sound of baby ravens calling for FOOD and more FOOD!  How I miss the sound!
The crows on the other hand keep their babies around.  The babies are very big by now BUT they still holler for food!  I read that the babies stay around and then help with the next batch of young birds.  BUT- when will that young bird stop trying to get fed???  He is gigantic!!!
My crow friend, the one who recognizes me, must have met up with a bigger bird or a wind machine or something.  He is missing a bunch of feathers around his neck and he looks like he was in a fight.  He is able to fly and pick up peanuts so he is not too damaged.  These days I am running through unsalted peanuts in the shell at a very fast clip.  I put them out each morning for the crows but the scrub jays are faster than white lightning at picking up the peanuts.  So I have to feed all the jays before the crows can get theirs.  It is fun to watch the jays swope and pick up the peanuts. And so it goes in my suburban garden.
I was up on Mt. Veeder yesterday for a very nice luncheon with the Hill and Dale Ladies.  I did not hear one raven the whole afternoon.  I wonder where they were hanging out???  The Stellers jays were making up for the lack of raven racket.  They were so LOUD.  We were eating outside so maybe they wanted part of our lunch.  ON the way down the hill I stopped to pickup a couple of rocks for my garden.  I saw a perfect rock, nice and round, worn down by water- but what was that lying right by the perfect rock?? A rattlesnake!!  I have heard that the rattlesnake population is way up this year.  I wonder why.  We did not have alot of rain this past rainy season.  So I backed off and did not get the perfect rock.  The snake then slithered under an adjacent pile of debris and I thought YOW!!! maybe picking up random rocks is not a good idea.  I could pick one up and there would be Mr. Snake right under the rock.  It has been suggested by my friend Dick that I come up to his property on Mt. Veeder and collect rocks in the creek bed as he has never seen a snake around there.  So I think I will take him up on the offer.  I want to surround a dirt area with rocks and plant California poppy seeds.  The winter rains will be coming around October 15th and so it is time to scatter the seeds for next years flowers.  And so another year of nesting, egg laying, and baby raising ends for my bird friends and my favorite time of year, FALL, will soon begin.  I will travel often up the hill to Mt. Veeder to see the change in color of the big leafed maple trees.  The wheel of time keeps turning for all God's creatures.