The Essence of True (Crow) Love

Cookie Crow 2-17-15-4415

Ah…Birdz Cookies!

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?

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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.

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White-Throated Sparrow

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Sparrows, mainly House

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Northern Cardinal and House Sparrow, both males

This has also been good for the Cardinals, Chickadees, White-Throated Sparrows and House Sparrows.

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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.

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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.

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The Black-Capped Chickadees have been more about food than enticing me to take their pictures.

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Black-Capped Chickadee

But from time to time the female Cardinal wasn’t too shy to engage the lens.

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NOCA 2-17-15-4325So 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.

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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.

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White-Throated Sparrow

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.

Gull Invasion

Spring comes to the lakefront in many forms, but none so noisily as the arrival of Ring-Billed Gulls. It’s an opportunity to teach the new crows a life lesson.

The juvenile crows thought they had everything figured out and the parks and the lakefront were theirs for the taking, but now these guys have arrived like gangsters.

This crow can't believe what's happening.

I had even gotten careless with these puny pieces of shelled peanuts: piled up, they were irresistible. The gulls descended upon them in less than a second.

It’s my theory that the gulls time their arrival for the festivals and parades, beginning with St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. The highlight of their visit will be the Taste of Chicago in July.

"How COULD you?"

A few peanuts won’t be missed, but the crows and I will have to be careful, especially when there’s hot dogs. The crows will learn to be silent instead of calling to each other when they see me, and they’ll stop following me around. Instead, they’ll meet stealthily at some predetermined location, their choice or mine: it doesn’t matter, we’ll put our heads together. Because if the crows attract any attention to me whatsoever, they’ll lose their monopoly over me. As it is, I hope the gulls have been distracted over the weekend, because they’ll remember me forever if they start associating me with food. And I gave up starting riots a long time ago.