According to Wikipedia’s last count, over 156 million – YES 156 MILLION – blogs are scattered across the enormous web. So I guess there’s room for one more.
I’m going to start with Ollie dog – his name’s Ollie, but for some reason everyone refers to him as Ollie dog. We got him from the pound, the only dog that wasn’t barking, Ollie sat patiently at his cage door, surveying the passing humans. We knew that this observant little pooch was the one for us.
That was two years ago, and I’ve realised since, that forming a bond with any animal is an extremely courageous thing to do. The odds tell me that our family will outlive the Olster. To lose a pet which has become as important as one of your own children is not a nice thing, yet we still do it. We give them a home, food, warmth, comfort, play times, and we take them walkies even when the temperature is down to 3 degrees and the persistent rain isn’t stopping for anyone or anything.
So we go to the lake every day, the Olster and me. Sometimes twice a day if the field’s too muddy for fetch. Ollie loves the lake. It’s out of the way, parking’s not easy, and many of the pathways are overgrown. Often it’s just Ollie and me and the wildlife.
This morning, as we came to bend one where the tall beech straddles the bank and the water, we heard a commotion of squawks, twitters and screeches. We moved around the tree to get a better view and saw the most amazing thing. Two crows were attacking smaller birds among the branches, coming in like black airplanes, dive-bombing the little ones – which turned out to be blue tits.
Crows are scavengers, eating almost anything. They clean up roadkill, as well as rubbish from our gardens. Finding a fresh `hit` the crow will put the animal out of its misery by penetrating its brain with its beak through the eye socket before enjoying the warm innards. Friendly, helpful creatures, are crows.
Watching these crows attack the tits, amid this freezing blanket of rain, made me wonder if I could do anything to help. Of course I could. I could make some tit traps, capture as many tits as I could, then present the crows with an easy lunch. Suggesting this to the Olster brought a derisory snort. Then he ran off after a squirrel and barked it up a tree.
I’m kidding of course.
But there was something I could do.
Back home, I gathered up all the fruit from the fruit bowl (bananas and apples), half a punnet of strawberries from the fridge, along with two bread loaves and some cabbage leaves. I returned to the lake and planted my offerings among the beech’s sparse branches.
Five hours later the whole lot was gone. Two crows sat high in the tree next to the beech, and a few tits remained, flitting like fleas among the web-like branches. Interesting. Those crows looked suitably appeased, the tits no longer under attack.
I bought an extra loaf on the way home, and some pears, reduced because they weren’t at their best. Tomorrow my crow friends shall have another feast, and the tits and squirrels will probably share too.
It’s particularly hard for all wild animals at this time of year. Many die because food is so thin on the ground. So next time you take your dog friend to the woods, gather up your scraps of fruit, veg, and bread and go make friends with the crows, too.