Corvids and Covid in the Encampment; Cringeworthy

Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here.

Taking Quarantine Serious

Last night was pretty rough. My son was having a lot of trouble breathing and needed frequent nebulizer treatments. I had a lot of congestion and found it difficult to breath, but not as much as to require supplemental oxygen.

Strangely, we all have had significant joint pain and it goes down with Motrin.

My Beloved and daughter are symptomatic and we are awaiting test results.

Quarantine has left me grateful for stockpiling a little. We will be having a lot of beans, rice, and oatmeal. We have some meat and vegetables frozen as well.

To ease everyone’s mind, toilet paper was low on my needs list when this all went down and I purchased beans and rice in fifty pound increments.

I surmised If everything fell apart, wiping will drastically change to cloth or the Sears Roebuck catalog.

So. On to the title. The Corvid family include jays, magpies and ravens, and crows.

I have a particular fondness for birds and crows have value to an urban farmer, or so I have read.

They chase away hawks that prey on chickens and ducks. This is something I have not only read but observed numerous times in nature.

You have to be careful with what you read in feel good posts about urban farming. I have read numerous times that ducks will only gently eat in your garden in search of insects to eat. What I observe is much different than what I read. I am fully aware that it is winter, but my yard is seldom reduced to this level.

I feed these birds so much that there are always leftovers and they fill up on everything else instead.

So, back to the crows.

I have made a habit of talking to every crow I meet in the neighborhood and they appreciate the attention.

They listen to positive reinforcement and will also react negatively if you chase them off. They have long memories.

They have rewarded me by driving off hawks near my house. They are pretty smart.

For Real

It has taken months of work to coax them into my yard, and I believe that my stingy attitude of positive verbal reinforcement over actually feeding them was a primary cause, but here they are.

This is well and good in all the almanacs and exaggerated urban farm posts, but they brought a significant concern. They are eating the eggs that are laid in the middle of the yard and the ducks are digging in as well.

I am not sure what to do about the crows, but I purchased crushed oyster shells to inhibit the behavior in my ducks. A calcium deficiency typically is the cause.

I have several piles like this in the yard.

I hope they did not learn too much from the crows or I am in deep trouble!

Author: The Storyteller

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. His favorite quote is "Don't count the lions. It will make you afraid and slow you down."

70 thoughts on “Corvids and Covid in the Encampment; Cringeworthy”

  1. Stone interesting things you learn hands on rather than just from reading. Nice info sharing

      1. Only plans I have are to go to wildlife refugees and other places to try to see some critters. Trying to keep a distance from people as much as possible in these times. Not sure it does any good. I know people who only went to work and home who wore masks everywhere and still got it.

      1. We still have numbers here. But so far in managed isolation. None in the community. Thank God for that because NZ is a small country and community transmission can be very dangerous for us.

  2. No matter how sick you are, somebody has to take care of the critters. It’s a strange and interesting problem you have there. Find something the crows like better than eggs and feed them it? I don’t know. I know you have done and are doing all the homework you can.

  3. Hope you don’t have to suffer from this bad passage.
    All my encouragement to the family and your boy.
    This covid episode is a test for humanity …
    Thank you for your conversations with the crows. I had read that crows practice very codified rituals when one of them dies. Here is a link, it will make a nice read and help pass the time of waiting and recovery.
    Have a lovely day everybody
    Corinne
    https://sain-et-naturel.ouest-france.fr/voici-pourquoi-les-corbeaux-organisent-des-funerailles-pour-leurs-morts.html

    1. Corinne, it may be a test for humanity, or a wake up call of sorts.

      I talk to all the birds to be friendly, not necessarily because I believe they understand me. I have attracted a variety of birds to my house through talking with them and food incentives.

      Thank you for the link! It was just enough to make me hungry for more information on the topic.

      Benjamin,
      Brother’s Campfire

  4. I didn’t know that jays were corvids like crows but I believe it! They have similar behaviors. I too have watched the crows in nature. They are a sturdy lot against predators like hawks and they’re very talkative. I wish you much luck with them. As I kept on reading through your post I did ponder this though – crows take good care of each other just as you and your family are doing right now. My thoughts and prayers are with you all for your health and safety. 🌷

    1. Thank you! I believe only a poet could compose such a paragraph.

      I like the corvid family and rescued a jay a couple years ago. He and his mate visit our yard nearly every day.

      Thank you for your kind words friend. Have a beautiful day!

    1. I hope so. The calcium should be 3 percent of the diet. I believe that due to corn being available as a carb supplement, they are eating it like junk food, causing a deficiency. I plan on making the flock food readily accessible and throwing the corn about they yard so they have to work for it.

      1. Sounds like a great idea. I grew up with chickens who roamed free in our yard and the adjacent plantation (not ours), but not with ducks–to learn that they eat their own eggs (!) is quite shocking–although I’ve seen a pigeon do that.

          1. In their second year they could already be a bit tough (so we only kept the good ones for breeding). The best are those which just reached their full growth potential (a little less than a year, if I remember it right –their meat is still tender. We keep talking about food–‘hoping you get to enjoy your food again soon, bro. 🍲

  5. I read that crows also tell each other about good/bad humans.

    No farming at my house so crowsy are mainly a noisy nuisance. But humans are too. I don’t chase either off them off.

          1. But the hood SnoopDog is from?!? He was raised a few blocks from my place. Which makes me now wonder if he was a member of the “Insane Crips”, the name of the local branch.

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