Friday, June 10, 2011

corvids overhead

Outside of the rec centre where I work, at the end of the parking lot where it meets the walkway to the entry door, two crows have nested in a tree and produced a bunch of baby crows. Yesterday, it was time for the babies to learn to fly. Mid-morning found them out of the nest, lurching, flapping and popping around in some undergrowth below a tall cedar tree. Mama and Papa Crow alternated flapping down in the bush with the babies and perching on low-hanging branches just overhead. Whenever a two-legged creature walked past the area of the baby crow flight training, Mama and Papa would shout caws of warning, "Get away!" "Don't mess with our babies!" "Can't you see they are learning to fly?" If the two-legged creature persisted in walking from the parking lot towards the pathway that goes to the entry door of the building, Mama and Papa crow flew through the air and dive-bombed the pedestrian(s). This included people like me (direct hit to the right shoulder by Papa - I think), senior citizens using walkers and canes, and Moms with small children and babies. Don't think you can fool a crow with a baby stroller. Mama and Papa Crow know that two-leggers feed mashed crow to their babies. Correction: mashed baby crow.

So what do you do? One man stood in the middle of the mayhem, waving his arms and yelling back at the yelling crows to go away. This did not work.

Since it it the rec centre, and a public place, and safety is important, my co-worker Dave was charged with putting up a sign to at least warn people of the hazard of passing through the crow family's flying school area. Dave showed me his first draft. It said, "Attention Patrons: Please make room for baby crows." I told him I thought that was a bit obscure and did not actually address our purpose of a warning sign. It sounded more like one of those signs on the bus, admonishing people to give up the seats near the front door to elderly passengers and people with disabilities.

Dave offered to let me make a sign. I printed out my version that said "LOOK OUT for crows protecting their babies." Dave suggested "LOOK OUT for crows, as they are protecting their babies." I told him that was too many words. Dave conceded and used my wording on several copies which he printed out and posted in various places adjacent to the parking lot. My favourite was on a sign post just at the end of the lot, directly under the nest tree and only a few feet with from underbrush where the babies were hopping and flapping. When people stopped to read the sign, they stood directly between Mama Crow's low hanging brand and Papa Crow's low hanging branch. It think it actually increased the number of direct hits by crows to people.

I hope those babies learn fast. That was enough excitement for one day.

question: what's growing in your neighbourhood?

mompoet - witnessing the fierce humour of nature

No comments: