Here’s a recent observational letter from local farmer Joseph Hoyt to the Cleveland (OK) American. I like that ‘his crows’ signal him for food the way ‘my chickadees’ call me out for leaving their feeder empty.
The crows have gotten to the point that they accept me, maybe not as a friend, but at least as a source of food. Sometimes, as I’m working outside, they perch on a nearby tree branch and yell at me. I’m beginning to learn that that three “caws” in succession means, “Meet me at the barn. Bring food.” If I have anything for them, I’ll give in to their demands, and by the time I get back to the house, they’ve already swooped in and started eating.
I feed other birds too. Hummingbirds, for instance, have grown accustomed to stopping by the patio for sips of nectar on warm summer days. They’ve gotten so used to me, in fact, that I can sit near their feeder and they will fly within a few inches of my face. Cardinals perch in the grapevines and blissfully eat to their hearts content with me standing a few feet away. Chickadees and titmice flit around here and eat the seeds that I’ve put out for them, and jays and woodpeckers will play in the birdbath. But there is something different about the crows.
Crows have and aura about them, and intelligence that can be sensed as you interact with them, and the more I’m around them, the more I notice a nonverbal communication between us. It’s almost as if we’re always playing games with one another.
Farmer Hoyt gets it: he shares his hilltop not only with the crows and other birds and his neighbors, but with all generations of all creatures past and future to inhabit his land. The very act of accepting that he has a responsibility to something other than himself is a refreshing change in this era. It’s good to be reminded, or simply to remember, we’re not alone on this Earth. Read the rest of his letter here.