The weather finally turned cold enough last week to warrant baking the Birdz Cookies, which have gone through several iterations over time. I have managed to find a way to cut down on the sugar content and increase the peanut butter, which suits the Crows just fine.
I was quite pleased that the Crows went for the cookies first, saving the hot dogs and peanuts for later. So I guess baking cookies is the way to a Crow’s heart…
There were a few White-Throated Sparrows too. It still amuses me that they have chosen Millennium Park for a winter habitat, but I suspect they picked up lots of tips from the House Sparrows and are able to get enough food and shelter to make a go of it. On this day there was only one individual available for pictures.
I haven’t been out to see the Crows all week but I’m going to visit them today. Very chilly today but we are supposed to have a two-day warming trend.
Until the next post, I leave you with a few more pictures from last Friday. It’s very likely the Crows are paying attention while I’m posting this and salivating in advance.
Or you could just say Food is Love in just about any language. Like Music…
In the midst of this miserable cold, my crow friends and I are reunited in thought and purpose. Last week they sent me a request for Birdz Cookies, and so it was Birdz Cookies on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, I put out lots of peanuts and broke up the cookie pieces on top of them, and the Crows went straight for the cookies.
Then yesterday, after two days of cookies, why not some of those delicious hot dogs I used to bring?
Between my knee event (which I am happy to report is totally over), the weather, the baby boom indoors and other distractions, I haven’t managed to get up early and visit the crows an hour before work all winter, so I have focused on the Millennium Park bunch whenever I get out for a late lunch break, and now that my knee is working properly the weather becomes less of an excuse for staying inside when I realize my friends don’t have that choice.
Sparrows, mainly House
Northern Cardinal and House Sparrow, both males
This has also been good for the Cardinals, Chickadees, White-Throated Sparrows and House Sparrows.
On Monday, the male Northern Cardinal actually came toward me and posed for pictures when I pointed the camera at him. It had to do with the peanuts I shelled and left for him on Friday. He was asking me to repeat the favor, which I did after taking a few more pictures. Then later he was down on the ground sampling the general offering.
On Tuesday I was surprised to see the Robins back at what I believe must be some type of hawthorn trees in the northwest corner of the park, I guess to clean up every last fruit they might have left on their last visit.
The Black-Capped Chickadees have been more about food than enticing me to take their pictures.
But from time to time the female Cardinal wasn’t too shy to engage the lens.
So as cold as it is I will probably venture out again today. The sun is shining brightly, and it is always a bit warmer by the lake, even in this extreme cold. It’s amazing how much even one or two degrees makes a difference.
The “what-to-feed-the crows next?” question has been on my mind, since after cookies and hot dogs, simply peanuts seems too mundane. So I rustled up an omelette this morning with about 10 eggs that have been in the refrigerator too long to boil for the indoor crowd’s egg food. I figure the crows have probably sampled Egg McMuffins and will recognize an omelette (indeed I think one crow sent me the thought on the way in that I could have added cheese — ha!). Plus it’s eggs in a cache-and-stash form.
I do intend to wade through the Gull Frolic pictures by the weekend…but the park birds were making it a lot easier for me to post about them sooner.
I’ve been making the “Birdz Cookies” for years, but the night before the Starved Rock trip two weekends back (still going through those photos), I decided to improve the recipe some more by using less sugar. The original recipe calls for equal amounts of brown and white sugar; I substituted a tablespoon of molasses for half of the white sugar. Then when it came to adding the peanut butter, there was extra left in the jar, and it seemed silly not to use it up. Whole wheat flour, oatmeal, raisins, cinnamon, what’s not to like? The cookies went over well with the people who tried them. The crows have been going crazy for the leftover cookies since. Now they are truly The Birdz Cookies.