Counting crows

I feel like I am about to become the Tippi Hedron character in The Birds – and we all know how that ends. This being spring (for a few weeks more), the birds are still returning. Although they don’t need to spend money on a condo south of the border, neither do they need to invest in cottage real estate. Anywhere and everywhere here is their summer home, and of course that is generally a good thing. Until you start experiencing the dark underbelly of bird behavior. There is a reason why we call them a ‘murder of crows’.

It seems that birds are much more territorial than I have previously given them credit for. And yes, I know I just ended a sentence with a preposition, for which I will not apologize. The large black birds currently staking a claim on my island sovereignty sound like crows but must certainly be ravens. I am not the most accurate judge of weight of bodies other than my own (and even in that case my wish might under-weigh my reality) but based on their choice of tree limb I would clock them in at five pounds minimum with wing spans of about four feet. And their underbellies are as dark as a new moon night.

Perhaps the cats have prompted this display of avian dominance because they have been alternating between sunbathing on the front deck and cooling off in the shadows of the woods – mostly in full view of any airborne potential predators. Dennis seems to believe he can certainly take them on, and his weight class would normally bear that out except that his lift off capacity leaves something to be desired.

The birds I really wait for are the woodpecker(s), the heron(s) and the owl(s). It is always so hard to figure out how many of each variety actually exist or even which generation is currently in residence. We always call the heron ‘the heron’ although there must be more than one and it must include both a Mr. and Mrs. Heron. Regardless, he/she/them are present and accounted for and hopefully working on next gen herons.

I have not seen my favourite classic Woody Woodpecker yet but I have heard him. This is not a good health report for some of the trees but all part of the cycle of the forest. Yesterday I incinerated some tent caterpillars, which on second thought may not have been the environmentally correct thing to do because I think Woody might have liked them. My bad.

But (with all due apologies to the loons), the owl is at the top of my hit parade. He/she is rarely seen but often heard in the wee hours hooting away with a general air of entitlement. When Henry was young and skulking in the night I was a little concerned I might see an orange fuzzy blur being whisked across the night sky to provide a tasty snack for tiny owlets. I no longer have delusions of owl felineicide and wait in anticipation of that first owl ‘hearing’ on a still, soft night.

The cat chattering and raven mocking all ended in a temporary détente. I am pretty sure they are regrouping to wake me up at four in the morning. If Dennis doesn’t beat them to it.

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