A Bone To Pick…Or Not


The twig entwined platform feeder in my front yard moves a bit every time one of the large black birds lands to dine. At first the wary guest would gently touch talon to base and the movement would alarm, thus the bird would take to the sky. But, soon one of the group would hover over the structure, testing the limits of the swaying platform. The observers would grow in confidence and by the fourth attempt to land, felt comfortable enough to stand atop the feeder and sample its offerings.
Nothing overly grand to tempt the palate of man nor average beast, however, to the Crow the array of peanuts in the shell and assorted bones from a turkey feast that adorned my own table was a glorious repast.
Corvids like to cache their food and being highly intelligent, most often remember exactly where they hid their next meal. The Jays and Crows who frequent the feeders in my yard have a tendency to use the property of the neighbors across the street as their storage unit. At times the Crows will hide the peanuts amid the blades of grass in a well manicured lawn, but if securing the stash from opportunistic Squirrels is warranted, no hiding place more perfect than the rain gutters of my smiling, waving neighbors.
When the Crows swoop in to feed I will drop whatever I am doing and rush to the window to watch the show. Along with the Hawk and the Owl, the Crow and rare Raven are my Spirit Guides. The kinship I have with them is something I treasure so when I can interact, the connection is bound evermore tightly.
On this particular occasion, things took a comedic turn when one of the group of four Crows landed on the roof peak of the grand two story across the street. Hops and the gingerly placed foot over foot maneuver made up the dance as one of the black velvet band carefully made its way to the eaves. Finally, perched on roofs edge, she reached into the rain gutter and pulled out a large bone that appeared to be from a turkey leg.
The weight and size of the bone made the task of hauling it from the gutter rather difficult, but the Crow lacks nothing in the perseverance department. Once free from the metal gutter, the mission then appeared to be getting it to the roof peak where it could be picked over from the highest vantage point should a comrade attempt to pilfer.
The hopping was not as light of foot this time and a dragging motion was added to the routine. The Crow struggled with the bone for several minutes, but the target was now only a few steps away. Amid the repertoire of calls and caws there must be an obscenity or two which surly got uttered at the point when the Crow lost its grip on the bone and it tumbled down the roof and landed back in the gutter.
Again, the trek was made to the roofs edge, bone retrieved and assent resumed. This time, however the Crow took a page from the book of logic. When something proves unsuccessful, change the approach. This time a less direct line was used to loft the bone to the summit. Instead of a strait line, the Crow traversed the roof on the diagonal, making the trip less steep and gravity less of an obstacle.
This was working rather well, until gravity won and the bone began rolling. However, due to the direction, it did not head back toward the gutter, but instead dropped from the front of the house directly in front of a huge ornate great room window. My husband, who had joined me in my bird watching, and I began laughing hysterically. The Crow hopped over to the edge and gazed with frustrated amusement as the bone fell into the hedge below.
Our imaginations took flight with the bone as we speculated the shock and confusion should the occupants of the house take notice. They are a very tranquil appearing family Buddhists from Tibet, complete with an ancient little Yoda of a lady who does a walking meditation daily. She strolls down the block, attired in what must be what the fashionistas of Tibet wear, accessorized with a fist full of prayer beads. I’m hoping that the occurrence of ‘raining bones’ is not some dreaded omen, and they will just chalk it up to one more weird thing certainly involving the Witch across the street. And they would be right.
Two of the Crows appeared to sneer in the direction of the one who had caused this turn of events hissing, “I can’t believe you just did that!” The other one hopped over to gaze in empathy toward the hedge before they took to the sky in search of dinner elsewhere.
One doesn’t have to be in a forest or reside in a rural area to appreciate Nature. Many think that to be the case. Here in our self-constructed jungles of concrete and timber is a place we share with birds and bugs and furry things, oh my. My feeders are always THE place to be in our neighborhood to stop by for a meal and the pond is the watering hole of choice for happy hour. In the Spring, the Ground Squirrel will emerge with a new family to parade with pride and the Raccoon may pay a visit to see how the grape arbors are doing.
Here in the city, Nature never sleeps or takes a day off. It’s always just a window away.

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