the corvid

Submitted by la miller on 14 November, 2008 - 17:05
crownot a pet

I'm working on a story about urban crows -- ubiquitous, gregarious, loud and clever. According to University of Washington's John Marzluff, crows have culturally co-evolved with humans. We are woven into each other's lives, shaping each other's behaviors. As I think about our relationship with crows, it's interesting to reflect on what they can teach us about ourselves.

I spent part of the morning out at the Audubon Society, talking about crows with a wildlife educator. When asked about the best way to improve human-crow coexistance, she emphatically tapped out her message with a pointed finger, "Don't feed them!" I was a bit taken aback by her insistence. But as she explained it to me, it made tremendous sense.

It's true, we feed crows by tossing out bread crusts. But the majority of the human food they consume comes from our trash, compost and litter. None are nature food sources for these omnivores. And none are too healthy for them, either. But the crow is an opportunistic feeder, and if it's easy and prevalent.... Well, who can blame the bird? Once the crow drive-thru opens, the birds will flock, prosper and make a ruckus, annoying the human neighbors and making a mess.

For me, this points towards the necessity of humans taking more responsibility for our consumption, taking better care of our trash. On a literal and metaphorical level, I'd like to advocate for that today.

How are you treating your trash? If not well, it might draw the attention of some unwanted new friends.