|Drawing by Alan Lees |
The birds in our garden have pretty much kept me sane throughout the past covid infested months. Especially a pair of very large crows - carrion crows, I think - that have become reasonably tame over the summer. At first they would watch me from a distant rooftop and only come down into the garden once I was safely indoors.
Now they watch me from our own rooftop, and will even come down onto the bird table when I'm still in the garden. A couple of weeks ago when we were taking advantage of the last of the fine weather, sitting outside for a late afternoon glass of wine with our immediate neighbours, they even flew down to have their customary supper from a smaller feeder, with a drink of water from the bird bath afterwards. We carried on talking and they carried on eating, glancing around occasionally to make sure that we were still in friendly mode.
I put out a seed mix for the birds - we have a lot of small birds in this garden: sparrows, tits, robins, wrens, blackbirds and many more, as well as bigger birds like wood pigeons and collar doves. There are covids in plenty: jackdaws on all the roofs, rooks in the trees in the overgrown field at the bottom of the garden, and a pair of magpies that are not very welcome since they do tend to bully the smaller birds. However, there is plenty of cover for the wee ones in this garden, so they should be OK.
The crows are shown a great deal of respect by everyone else. It's fascinating to watch them. They don't seem to be particularly aggressive, but the smaller birds, and even the smaller corvids, always give way to them.
Very occasionally I'll put out a bit of stale bread. The crows love it, but they will dip it in the bird bath till it's nice and soft, like dunking a biscuit I suppose. Sometimes, with a particularly hard bit of crust, they will leave it in the water for a few moments, eat a bit more seed, and then come back to it.
What I really want to know though, is where they roost at night? I assume it must be in one of the bigger trees. We have old fashioned hedges and a big viburnum, and I know that's where all the sparrows hang out. The blue tits and the robin commandeer a holly tree. The pigeons take shelter in a tall fir tree, very thick at the top. The jackdaws lurk among the chimney pots.
But I've never managed to see exactly where the crows go to roost. And they're so big that you'd think it would be obvious.