Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Final Crowdown


I have written about HOB’s love of/spiritual identification with crows here before. Regular readers will remember the dead crow in the freezer story and HOB’s plan to carry the frozen crow through airport security.

Some of you may remember my post about HOB tossing cat food up on the roof each morning so that the crows gather around whenever they hear the garage door opening, making us look like the McCreepy family.

While I find crows to be fine birds and I do appreciate their beauty and their brains, I am not drawn to them the way HOB is. In the evenings, we’ll be out for a walk and I’ll be talking to HOB, sharing one of my salient observations of the day when I sense that his attention has shifted away from me.

That’s when I look over and see his eyes transfixed on a crow in a tree.

Think old black and white western—the wise but wizened Native American stopping to have a mysterious interlude with his brethren the crow. Can you hear the strains of the theme song from The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly in the background? Do you see the close-up on the face of the man as he penetrates the airwaves with his stare, locking eyes with the black, winged creature who stares back at him, conveying the wisdom of the ages?

Yeah, well, it gets real irritating when I am trying to talk to him about how I think somebody should create a pen that has chocolate inside or how cookies are so much better than cupcakes.

All I can do is roll my eyes and wait until the mystical moment is over and then continue my important observations.


When our beloved dog Maddie died, I gave her canned food to a friend of ours for her dog and was dragging the big bag of dry food out of the garage when HOB stopped me. He said, “Oh no. Don’t give that away. That’s my crow food now.”

Later on, he came into the bedroom, actually chewing on pieces of the dog food saying, "I see why they don't like it as well as the cat food. It's really not that good."


Now, in the past the crows hung out in the trees near our house and flew down when they heard the garage door opening signaling snack time. However, about three weeks ago, I noticed they had started to gather on the fence just outside our bedroom window. It’s just a bit unnerving to walk into the room and see six black birds, sitting, perched on the fence, staring into the room. Forget trying to take a nap in the middle of the day.

Normally, if the birds get a little noisy, a few raps on the window or a sharp “Hey!” get them to be quiet and fly away. However, the other day, there was an especially loud one who spotted me in the bedroom and squawked very loudly, bobbing up and down, obviously very worked up about something.

“Quiet!” I said “Shhhh!” “Stop it”

Still more cawing. More urgent squawking.

“Stop it!” I said. “He isn’t here!” I yelled.

(I think the bird knew I was lying. HOB was indeed home, at the other end of the house.)

The squawking was high-pitched and nearly frenetic now. I thought maybe this was a mother bird whose baby was in danger. Perhaps it had fallen from a nest. I called HOB and told him to go and check it out.

He went out and within seconds I heard a somewhat familiar sound. I looked out the window and strained to see out to the far right. There was HOB, pouring out dog food into a dish on top of a small shed at the end of the windows. There were wings flapping. The squawking stopped immediately as the crow and his friends settled down at the apparent lunch counter.

HOB came back in.

“You have a bowl out there for them now?” I asked.

“What?” (HOB’s best stalling technique)

“You can’t do this,” I said. "Haven’t you ever heard of conditioned response?"

"What?"

"Stop that."

"You wanted the problem solved and I solved the problem, didn’t I?” he said.


So now HOB is out of town for a few days. The gang is hanging out and right now it’s all good since HOB left some party food out for them. However, that food is going to run out. I’ve already stood at the bedroom window and shouted warnings to them through the screen.

“Make it last, Birdies, because when it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t rattle me. You can’t train me to be your food monkey. You’ve met your match.”

One of them looked at me, his eye raised, his beak turned up just a tad, like a sneer.

“Yeah. You heard me,” I said, my voice high and my hands shaking the screen a little.

“You’ll see whose the boss," I yelled. “You’ll see."

Just to rub it in, I make loud fake chomping sounds, "Oh, and I've know where the good stuff, the cat stuff, the fresh cat stuff, is too."

They all looked at me, worried.

Real worried.

45 comments:

EmptyNester said...

Betty- That was GREAT! I could visualize it all--especially you talking to them about making the food last! When are you going to write a book?!

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

I second the book notion! Thanks for the belly laugh. I almost feel sorry for those crows when the food runs out. It's a showdown! LOL

PS...I was walking with Mom last week, when we happenend upon a house littered with crows. I started laughing between my huffs and puffs, and then snorted as I recalled your crow stories. I barely made it home without hyperventilating! Mom thought I was going to drop right on the pavement.

Happy Thursday! ☺

Catherine said...

Haha ~ oh Betty ~ you make me laugh! Funny post!

I must admit, crows are not my favourite. Especially at 4:20 am when they are outside my open bedroom window attacking the bird feeders and cawing at the robins.

Naughty birds...

Have a terrific weekend Betty!
xo Catherine

Leah J. Utas said...

Good one, Betty. The image of HOB eating the dog food will be with me all day.

Anne Gallagher said...

Betty as Clint Eastwood facing down a crow with her six-shooter. The crow facing her down with poop.
Image -- priceless.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like a better story than The Birds is developing!

Teresa Evangeline said...

I must admit to a spiritual affinity with crows myself. "They" say they have messages for us....

Yeah, the image of HOB eating the dog food is there for awhile. Love it.

You're so good. I love reading your stuff.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great post Betty, it's always a pleasure to stop by your blog.

Yvonne.

john said...

There's a larger real world analogy here..

Old Kitty said...

Awwww BB!!! I currently have an amazing mum and dad crow who nest on the tree at the end of my pathway and who protect their fabulous fledging especially from Charlie! It is the only time I know of Charlie's being spooked by anything and anyone. He does try his luck with the baby fledgling crow but mum and dad just swoop down and smack him one - and oh the racket they make!! Good for them!! :-)

Take care
x

Mamma has spoken said...

EEEWWWWWW he ate the dog and cat food? I would expect that from a young kid not a grown man,
I have a bird feeder in my backyard tree and I notice that when the crows come, all other birds leave the area and let the crows eat. As soon as the crows are gone, all the other birds come back. I think those other birds know that the crows are one mean bird!

Linda said...

I'm new enough to your blog that I hadn't read the previous HOB-and-crow stories, but this one sure gave me a chuckle. I enjoy watching crows, when they're not stealing eggs or babies from other birds' nests; but I can't imagine encouraging them to gather around my house. Sounds like something straight from Alfred Hitchcock.

Susan in the Boonies said...

And now, we learn where the term "a murder of crows" for a group of crows came from. A long, long time ago, there was this cave woman, whose husband had an eerie fascination with crows, and when her caveman left the cave for an extended hunting trip (to see what he could find to drag back to the cave), his cave wife ...

You get the idea.

Might I suggest a vacation to The Tower of London for your dear hubby? They have resident ravens there, who sit on the shoulders of the BeefEaters. Your hubby will never want to leave. :-D (There are pictures on line: you should google!)

Eva Gallant said...

Betty, you are just too funny! Loved this post! But I'd be the one afraid if I were you.....think Hitcock...The Birds.....

Madi and Mom said...

CAW, CAW, CAW BB....we think the problem is you don't speak Crow as well has HOB.....LOL
Thankfully I visited the potty before I read this post...I know too much info but you cracked me up.
Hugs C

Katherines Corner said...

Betty this was great!!!! hugs!

jenny_o said...

The "What?" as stalling technique - is that a universal husband thing or what?

I'm hoping there is another instalment of the crow saga in the works. Great post!

Mary Ann said...

I thought I was reading a Steven King story for a moment...LOL We have a family of crows...I think there are about 6...I don't mind them but they are so noisy sometimes. Right now there seems to be a war going on between them and a family of cardinals. Very, very noisy :(

Hilary said...

I read bout HOB and I see my future. Frank feels very connected to crows, too. He CAWs at them when one is in earshot and though he's not leaving food for them.. yet.. I can see it happening in the future. Right now it's just feeder birds and one VERY LOUD parrot who has him trained.

Your post had me chuckling .. and only a tad fearful all the way through.

texwisgirl said...

ha ha. i feed the crows dog food too.

KleinsteMotte said...

Well boss it is but I was hoping that those smart birds would leave you alone totally.

Talli Roland said...

I never in my life heard of feeding crows dog food! That's something new for me. Must admit, I'm not a big fan of crows. When I lived in Poland, they were everywhere (or maybe those were rooks). Here in London, there are lots of magpies everywhere which are not as dark and scary.

Baby Sister said...

Good luck with your crow problem. Stay strong Betty!!

Donna said...

FOOD MONKEY???Hahahahaaaa.....omg....Why is it I never make it through one of your post without busting out with a good laugh??!!!!
Did Hubby make it back in Time???Hahaaaaa
hughugs

Brian said...

Too funny, but I keep thinking of Alfred Hitchcock fur some reason!

That Janie Girl said...

that is TOO funny! Do you think they got the loud chomping sounds, Betty?

You crack me up!!

Pat Tillett said...

What a great story! Crows are so darn smart. While they were sitting on the fence, they were talking about you...

Linda said...

LOL! That is great! And yes crows
are very smart!!
have a great day and Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Linda

The Retired One said...

hahahahaa..that was too funny. My husband made fun of ME when I said the grackles were staring at me from the trees, so I know EXACTLY what you mean.

Out on the prairie said...

If you feed them, they will come.A funny tale, everyone needs a hobby.

Ms. A said...

Hahaha, I remember the frozen crow story! Bad thing about encouraging them to congregate, is the constant bird poop, not to mention the noise they use to attract their "trained" humans.

Smart birds.

Daisy said...

Oh my goodnes, I'm laughing so hard from this post, Betty. Wonderfully told. Thanks for always being such a bright spot in my day. :)

Magic Love Crow said...

This is a fantastic post! I love it! I was right with you, through your entire story! I actually read it twice, because I loved it so much! I have the biggest smile on my face! And, I laughed so hard! I got your blog through Robin, she told me about this post and new I would love it! She was right! Have a great day! Stacy ;o)

Shawn said...

That was a awesome story. I love crows, but to be honest I don't really y trust any birds they are to smart.

Shawn

Marg said...

That is hysterical. You stand down those darn crows. I don't have any idea why, but I don't like crows. I guess they are fine birds they always seem to be very demanding. Hope you can get them trained. Love this post.

Gigi said...

You always make me laugh! Always. I have a feeling those crows have met their match in you!

Thank you for your kind words today!

Marlene said...

Well, if HOB was chowing down dog food, I sure hope it was the premium stuff without byproducts! LOL!!

Sarah said...

I think you need to get a BB gun and the BBQ pit going while HOB is away. That will scare them straight.

Ann said...

I think HOB and my husband would get along well. He's always talking about the crows he feeds at work on his lunch. He buys bags of peanuts just for them.

Copyboy said...

The funny part is HOB answered you the same way the crows did. I ate dog biscuits once. Not so bad.

Ami said...

Wasn't it Stephen King who talked about the 'large, exuberant spatters of crowshit'?

Anyway, yeah. And that's what I think of when I think of crows, 'caws' we get them here, too.

But we do NOT feed them.

Lazarus said...

You never disappoint BB, great post!

faye said...

That was a HOOT ....
thank you food monkey !!

Lin said...

What is with HOB and the crows??? I'm new to this wackiness--maybe I don't want to know.

Are your neighbors a little peeved with your crow party???

I get you talking to the crows--I tell the frogs "good morning" each day. I've noticed that makes the neighbors go in the house in disgust--leaving me to the silence in my backyard. :)

Shan said...

Here's hoping all that "crow food" doesn't attract any other critters. My friend has been leaving food out for a neighborhood cat, but has found a raccoon there every night instead.