A Crow Of My Own


I spend an inordinate and embarrassing amount of time trying to get crows to love me.

It began simply enough. A trip to a local wild bird store, where an old Hispanic woman sweet-talked me into buying $200 worth of bird-enticing machinery for my yard. The task was simple enough: Teach me, sweet old Hispanic lady, how to attract crows (non-sexually). She said the crows would be there. She told me they would come to think of my home as their own.

I left out the first batch of peanuts in my yard with the excitement of a kid leaving cookies for Santa, convinced that I had all the ingredients to tame the local crows. Flythrough feeder. Metal pole thingy. Unshelled, natural peanuts. These were going to be some fucking healthy crows, all right? I am a benevolent lord, and I feed my children well.

I've always had a good relationship with crows, saying hello to them as I pass by, "accidentally" dropping chips while I try to feed myself. How clumsy of me. On more than one occasion, I've put my own life in jeopardy swerving my car to avoid a crow who just couldn't bear to be apart from its roadkill.

How hard could it be to get a few crows to eat free peanuts?

You guys. It is so fucking hard to get crows to eat free peanuts.

Occasionally, when the psychotic stellar jays are away, there are moments of blissful silence, broken suddenly by the faint caw of migrating crows. I spring from the couch and dash to the back yard, anxious, as always, to see if any crows are headed my way.

Once, four of them perched atop the roof, staring down at the bird feeder like aliens observing a foreign planet. When I ever-so-delicately opened the sliding back door, shaking a handful of peanuts as I approached, they did not budge. "Success!" I thought, prematurely.

The moment I put the peanuts in the feeder, the crows flew away.

Why? Why would you do such a thing?

Just yesterday, a single crow, who I call Lone Wolf, left the pack and sat in a tree in my back yard, watching me as I filled the bird feeders once more. I cooed to Lone Wolf, shaking the peanuts in my hand. "Come on, crow," I pleaded. "Have some fucking peanuts."

Placing the peanuts in the feeder, I went back inside, hiding behind the screen door with all the tact of a TV cop. Lone Wolf stared at the feeder, and I can say that because I was watching his eyes, okay? His black, heartless eyes.

Minutes passed, maybe hours, and then suddenly, Lone Wolf flew away, leaving the peanuts untouched.