Visiting the crows all week in the parched park has been an exercise in heat tolerance for all of us.
I have been taking a plastic food container with me to fill up with water from the drinking fountain. The crows know about the water fountain, but they don’t know about plastic containers.
I fear I have destroyed millions of years of inherited distrust of unknown containers and possibly contaminated liquids, by getting the crows to finally drink out of a plastic dish. As much as they trust me, it was not easy to override their inherent caution, which is so inbred and has served them so well for millennia. Perhaps I assumed too much by thinking they were paying attention as I filled up the container with water from the very drinking fountain they frequent. I had to pour a little water out onto the ground to show them that it was indeed water, something they recognize. And then I sat on a park bench and watched, and waited.
White-Wing was the first to sample the water as early as last week, but she was still cautious. However, Friday before an unexpected downpour, it was so hot and dry in the park the birds were doing their equivalent of panting.
And so when White Wing took a sip, she relished it. And the word spread.
The crows were visiting the water I provided. I had crossed a new dimension with them.
And then suddenly the wind picked up, the thunder and lightning started, and the crows scattered. The rain swell, although brief, was enough to soak me thoroughly on my way back to work without an umbrella. I stood under a few buildings here and there but I couldn’t wait out the entire downpour. Such as it was, here was the rain I had been praying for, and it was not possible to scold it for inconvenience. I dried out when I got back to the office. And by the time I got home, I was praying again for rain.
So this afternoon we got lucky again. Briefly, again. The clouds do so much better of a job than I can with the water hose.
With any luck these scattered downpours will become more frequent and we will survive this terrible summer. I don’t miss the mosquitoes but I find myself worrying about the plight of bats and Chimney Swifts, to name a few creatures who must miss them terribly.
And I have to get this gutter fixed!