Ah, my granddaughter. Little Sardine. Just two years old. Yesterday, as her regular Sunday visit drew to a close, the time came to feed the crows.
She came with me out into the garden, and wanted a go with the crow call. She blew it just as I showed her (though rather more frequently than one normally might), and sure enough within a minute or two, she’d gathered the entire crow family – both parents and all the children – in the tall ash trees and on the chimney pots.
She loves crows. She loves the seagulls too – or, as she calls them, eagles.
The seagulls, who have raised two chicks this year, and are worn threadbare by the prodigious appetites (and endless mewling) of their gigantic beige babies, are always extremely jealous when the crows are fed. They will resort to all manners of wily ruses and elaborate teamwork to get the food for themselves. And it’s unwise to turn your back for even a nano-second. Sharing is fine, but that is not part of a herring gull’s vocabulary.
So I put some bread out on the woodstore roof to keep the ‘eagles’ happy, and Little Sardine wanted to be lifted ‘Up! Up!’ to watch them eat it. She had less success with the crows. Her mother and I both explained painstakingly that the essence of the thing is, you have to be quiet. And tolerably still. Well, she grasped that idea. So in between playing Hide and Seek Dinosaurs with her brother amid the lines of laundry hanging out to dry – which involved emerging periodically at rocket-launch speed emitting an earsplitting roaring shriek, she would drop into stealth mode, eyes wide, face listening in silent amaze, hoarsely whispering ‘Baby Crow!’ But she never did see it, I can’t think why.
(Photos are her mother’s, Buzzfloyd’s, in their yard at home)