Autumnal Adjustments

For humans, the 2020 autumn season is bringing with it — along with pumpkin spice — a sprinkling of existential dread.

For crows, however,  it’s the normal rowdy, rollicking, freedom-from-fledglings social season.

No social or physical distancing for them.

In fact, the normal territorial boundaries are being blithely crossed in search of seasonal bounty. Any block with a nut or berry tree is a “go-zone” this month.

Contributing to the mayhem is the fact that the excitable new fledglings have yet to learn the finer points of corvid etiquette.

A certain amount of chaos inevitably ensues.

I find it’s best to employ my special autumnal version of Peanut Diplomacy at this unruly time of year.

Instead of stopping on my fall morning walks to exchange pleasantries and a few peanuts with each set of  crow acquaintances on their territorial corners, a far more parsimonious peanut distribution system is in order.

Normally token offerings are made, accepted with grace, and I move on to visit new crows on new corners.

At this time of year, however, the dog and I seem to be claimed as  territory-to-go and crows will follow us from their own domain and into their neighbour’s. This can result an accumulation of dozens of boisterous crows following us for blocks and/or unseemly crow brawling.

Fall Peanut Protocol is best deployed at this point.

Upon leaving the house, I offer a few peanuts to Marvin and Mavis, if they happen to be waiting, then a few more for Mabel and her gang at the other end of the block. From that point on I exchange only kind words with my crow (and human) walking acquaintances. I’m still followed, but it’s a much less fractious group.

Harmony restored …

I generally find that, by December, things will have settled down again and normal Peanut Diplomatic Relations may resume.

Besides, at this time of year, my paltry peanut offerings pale beside the bounty that nature has to offer.




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10 thoughts on “Autumnal Adjustments

  1. Thank you for this update June. Oh how I do miss seeing you and Philips coffee LOL. I would love nothing more than to go on an eyes on tile spree!!! or … I’m just no good at looking at a photo and imagining something. HELP !!! Also are you doing calendars?


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  2. Thanks so much for clarifying things, June. As you know, I feed peanuts to “my” crows regularly
    in the same location and manner. But just last week I ran into a rowdy crow-d, and got dive-bombed several times, out off nowhere. A group of over a dozen followed me for many blocks, crossing
    boundaries. I learned a long time ago that they won’t dive-bomb if you walk backwards, facing them.
    But it doesn’t deter them from trying. It seemed so out of character, but you put it in perspective. For a
    few blocks I felt I was in a Hitchcock movie, as they would not let up. I also didn’t want to buy them off
    with peanuts to distract them, for fear of setting up a bad link between attacking and getting a treat.
    Thanks again. For now I am jogging different alleys. Henk

    • Well I’m kind of glad to know it doesn’t just happen to me! They haven’t dive bombed me yet, although I have had my shoulders brushed by wings quite a bit. I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to walk backward, but I sometimes think of John Marzluff’s tip for sewing fake eyes on the back of your hat!

  3. My crows don’t land near me if I am outside with food. They caw to each other though. I have been feeding regularly for over a year now. I throw food out the window at times and they will land and eat if I am standing at window where they can see my face. If I am back further and they can’t see me they are wary. The jays are in competition for their food too. Peanuts would never make it to a crows beak here.

  4. Noticed that yesterday! Our usual threesome (Jack, Diane & fledgling) had some party crashers to their usual 1pm Peanut Social.

  5. Pingback: The Young & The Restless | The Urban Nature Enthusiast

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