The Worm from Heaven

Crows are really smart.  I've known this for a good while, mostly because Marc has the capacity to talk passionately about birds in the genus corvus for a long, long time.  They're his favorite animal.

There are resident crows out here on the coast, and since our house is nestled inside a circular grove of locust trees they've been hanging around here a lot.  Especially since they've discovered our compost pile.  It's handy-- we chuck our compost right out the kitchen window.   To the crows that window is like a drive-through service, I think.  They love to come load up.

They especially love our egg shells.  I dunno, someone said they like to eat the nutrient-rich inner lining or something?  All I know is they love those things.

And here's why I am telling you all this.  Because I think those clever crows are forming some kind of relationship with us and our egg shell-spouting window.

On two different occasions, I've stepped outside to find an egg shell placed ever-so neatly on the stone path right in front of the door (not at all near the kitchen window).  The first time I saw it, I thought, that's weird.  I wonder if they know that we're the source of those shells, and that we come and go from this door?  The second time it happened, I really started to think something was up.

Then, Marc and I were sitting out on the grass by the water one afternoon, when suddenly from out of the Heavens fell a big, fat, juicy worm.  It landed right in front of us.  What the heck?  We looked up, and there in the trees above us was a crow, watching us carefully.

Was this crow was trying to establish some sort of system of reciprocity?  If so, we totally ruined his plan.  In such a scenario we should have scooped that worm up and eaten it right there, and said thank-you.  But instead I just fretted about the worm.  Can they fall from such great heights and survive?  Had he just escaped from the jaws of death?  Should I quickly bury him back in the dirt?  Was the crow secretly screaming at me to lay off his worm?

It was only later that I wondered if the crow was offering us his own juicy lunch.  How rude we were, if he was!

These are smart birds.  And that could be really cool, or really scary.  Are they sending us messages of friendship and gratitude?  Or are we about to live out "The Birds" in real life?

5 comments:

Super L said...

I think it was an offering. And you screwed up big time. Maybe if you get another chance you'll be a little more grateful! Jerks.

Super L said...

PS did you hear that story (Radiolab I think) about people training crows to clean up litter by letting them trade in garbage for food?

Katie said...

nooooo...sounds awesome! maybe we could come to a similar arrangement with our crows!

Katie said...

This morning I woke up to see a crow perched outside my window staring in RIGHT AT ME.

Again -- scary? or delightful?

Gumbo Lily said...

Katie,
I'm wondering if I can use one of your crow pictures on my blog? I have a cool poem that I'd like to put up with the picture.

Thanks,
Jody
gumbolily62@gmail.com