Crows’ scraps a reminder of harsh world animals face

 

Like a lot of other gardeners, we enjoy watching the birds and other creatures in the garden.

This time of year there’s a lot to see, as birds heading north stop by and lots of those who winter in the south return.

With all of the color and beauty, though, it’s easy to forget that everyday life is a struggle for all of them.

We spot indigo buntings and Baltimore orioles stopping to refresh themselves before moving on to better nesting areas. It’s hard to miss their bright colors.

The hummingbirds, on the other hand, find our yard very hospitable.

They’re zooming everywhere, visiting the feeders and then heading into the spruces to snap up gnats attracted to the sappy coverings bursting off the new spring growth.

My husband has watched one little female picking old spider webs out of the ornamental border on the top of the fence.

That’s a sure sign she’s building a nest. He’s now got his eye out for her, trying to follow her into the trees so we can discover exactly where she’s setting up housekeeping.

Colorful goldfinches flash past the windows, and the woodpeckers are fueling up at the the suet feeders.

A wren is ahead of all of them, already laying eggs in one of our bird houses.

We even have a pair of mallards determined to nest in the small ornamental pond in the back yard, although we’re trying to discourage them – ducklings and huskies don’t sound like a good combination.

Of course, everything isn’t as peaceful in the yard as it may appear.

I saw a hawk circling the other day, and the local red foxes have left some rabbit remains after their dinners.

Opossums and raccoons are around, too.

That’s why I wasn’t alarmed when I heard banging overhead the other day while reading in our attic work room.

I figured one of those critters was taking a short cut from the front ash to the back yard via the roof.

But the pounding continued, directly above me instead of fading into the distance. A quick look at the roof revealed nothing. But the pounding — and the mystery — continued.

It took a couple of days to figure out exactly what was going on.

The clue was the constant calling of crows in the trees in the front yard.

There’s a pretty large population of them in our neighborhood, although I think they nest a couple of blocks south of our place.

The crows I saw wheeling through the front garden weren’t flying over the house but landing on the flat roof. And they were bringing their lunch with them.

The pounding I’ve been hearing has been the crows eating.

So far, their leftovers — a couple of back rabbit paws and what we think is an upper squirrel jaw — are all we’ve found.

It’s kind of unnerving to sit under a crow’s dinner plate.

I suppose the roof is a relatively safe place to have a meal.

Crows stick together so they’re safe from the local hawks, and I think that’s the only creature around to challenge them.

 Anyway, the crows’ new dining spot is a stark reminder that rebirth isn’t the only part of spring. The struggle for survival goes on everyday, and not all that’s bright and beautiful survives.

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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