A high chorus of panic flooded into the lounge. I ran out to see what had bothered the chickens. Two crows sit on the grass and eat the top layer mesh. I was surprised. I had not seen crows here before. As I pulled the sliding door, the crows shot into the tall gum trees. Then they split and one stayed beyond the fence and kept talking to the other in the gum tree. It was only then, I realised they had built a nest. Over the weeks and months, one crow would venture into the backyard to snap bits of food. At one point there were three of them. Now the third had left. The remaining two worked in a team, one stayed at bay and talked loudly while one approached the house to shop. They both tended to keep their distance from any humans, but one was always braver.
And just like that, a confident thief in a black suit, one crow marched towards the house one hot day. I stayed in the kitchen and watched. Without touching the duck nor chickens’ food bowls, the crow came under the house and picked up a slice of bread and flew into the trees and over and beyond. I watched the crow circle above our property and my two neighbour’s houses and returned to our backyard where it met the second crow on an old gum tree.
On this spot, where the gum had lost all its leaves, the crows shared their slice of bread in silence while the chickens and the ducks watched. I believe the chooks were kicking themselves for missing that slice of bread.
This morning, I heard scratching noises and thought of snakes. We get a few snakes and since we are almost on the end of winter, it is time to come out of hibernation. My friend Heather at work lives in the western suburbs of Brisbane, Australia like me. Heather said she and husband Gary found a python on their dining table when they got home last week. My family lives about 15 minutes away from Heather so snakes have been on my mind.
The scratching noises seemed to only come from one place, unlike snakes which move and travel fairly quickly. I followed the sound outside to our flood lights and found a Butcherbird. She was re-arranging one of two nests outside my son’s bedroom. The nests are on our floodlights so they are at least 15 feet off the ground. I smiled, feeling good about this nesting effort because this would be the third time the magpies used these nests. They had cleverly positioned the nests away from everything, including snakes.
The twig nests have been sitting on those lights for almost two years since the first two magpies build them. They served almost like a magpie birthing suite.
I had thought the Butcherbirds would be territorial and build their nests new. The previous Butcherbird babies live in the yard. They sit on the verandah rail and sing their hearts out for food. While we live in an rural suburb, and there are still a lot of trees they could build their nests on, these birds preferred the existing nests. I was curious about these nests being re-used so I Googled to see if it was normal for Butcherbird to re-cycle nests. Here is a link I found that did not have much information on the re-cycled nests but provides an in-dept information on the bird’s life.
While searching, I also spotted something similar with re-cycling and crows. Similar in the sense of using what they can find to make their nests. This made me more curious about birdlife and how they adapt to the way we humans live and destroy many of their natural habitation. I also wondered about how much we really understand about the re-cycling and controlling our wastes.
In Japan, crows have taken nesting to a somewhat artistic and highly intelligent way of using wire clothes hangers to build strong nests. It could also be a case of doing the best with what is on hand.