We have new neighbors.
The pine tree outside our house (which, coincidently, looks the most like a Florida tree of all the trees on our block so I love it already) has some new tenants. Actually, I think it’s the same crows that nested near here last year, but this spring they are building their nest higher up. It’s actually just about the same height as our apartment. This means I can spy on them a little as they build the nest and then as bird-parenthood plays out through summer.
Crows aren’t many people’s favorite birds, but their intelligence and otherworldliness intrigues me. Jet black like a witch’s cat, a crow reminds us of dark things. There are all sorts of mysticisms linked to crows. Here locally, the crow frequents stories of people who have lived on this coast for centuries. A trickster, a thief, a harbinger of bad news.
Here in the city the population of crows works against those ideas; there just can’t be that many bad omens in a place with a crime rate as low as Vancouver’s. I think they are demonized because they remind us of ourselves. A crow will eat almost anything. It will outsmart the other, dumber birds. They take what they need. Crows aren’t timid and will confront bigger and smaller animals. They are known for driving out other species. Sounds like I’m describing people, right?
And people don’t usually like someone hanging around that reminds us of our worst qualities.
Since they are my new neighbors, I’m going to spend a little time getting to know these ones better. So far they’ve finished the nest (which took five or six days) and then they left it sit for a while. I assume that was to check to see what might come to investigate the site. Maybe this was some kind of basic security surveillance. They began hanging around in the nest again three days ago. As of yesterday, one of them is sitting on the nest while the other goes to get food. The nested bird makes a low, dull call almost constantly when its partner is away. When the two are together there is what looks to me like cuddling. They talk to each other with lower voices.
I recently checked out a book on crows and ravens from the library so I’m hoping to answer a few questions. I don’t which bird is sitting on what I presume to be eggs. I don’t know how long eggs take to hatch. I do know that crows often spend quite a bit of time with their hatchlings before the family separates. It’s this behavior that allows for some of their intelligence. They teach their offspring and then stay with them so skills can be mastered.
Sounds, again, like people to me.