My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's With the Birds?

I found a walnut in my front flower garden this morning. I picked it up and shook my head. Sigh. The crows were here. Hadn’t seen them in a while. Dang.

You see, we’ve had several unwanted avian infestations over the last five years. First it was magpies. If you’ve ever heard one at 5:45 a.m., you quickly find out what kind of stuff you’re made of. (Their calls are a mix between a shriek and a fire engine horn.) If there are five – all next to your window – things tend to get a little crazy.

We’ve been to ‘crazy’ and beyond. So have many people in our area. Regular bird species have declined. It looked like magpies were taking over.

Then the crows showed up, too. Not just one or two or five, but whole flocks of them. Ten, twenty, who knows how many? They’d circle and caw, adding to the general din. I started wondering/hoping it was an Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds” prank.

Nope. It’s the real thing.

We had fence-line discussions with our neighbors who ‘love’ both species as much as we do. We learned (copied from the DWR site):
R657-3-7. Nuisance Birds, Porcupine, Striped Skunk, and Squirrel.(1)(a) A person is not required to obtain a certificate of registration or a federal permit to kill American Crows or Black-billed Magpies when found committing, or about to commit, depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance, provided: ( . . . a very long list of things you shouldn’t do)

Soooo . . . how the heck do you get rid of them? Is there a humane way?

Oh, we’ve heard lots of inhumane ways such as fireworks –illegal – they’re only allowed a few days a year and too messy, and shooting guns out of bedroom windows, but that tends to be looked down upon by law enforcement.

I’m sure there are many more ideas which I’d rather not think about. So we tried our own humane way. Whenever we heard the magpies and crows, my kids would run out shouting until they left. The kids ran and shouted a lot (sorry to all neighbors who’ve been wondering just what in the Sam Hill is going on over here) . . . and things started to get better. In back. Not in front. At least not with the crows. They were everywhere, especially on the road.

We couldn’t figure it out. Were they waiting for roadkill? Most people drive pretty slow on our street. There’s not a lot of road kill. Ever. But something was up.

Then my husband figured it out. Those rascally crows are smart! They found a walnut tree several houses up. They’d fly the walnuts to the nearest road (ours) and drop them. Cars would drive by, and drive OVER the walnuts. They’d crack nicely. The car would pass, the crows would descend, and dinner would be served.

Once my husband pointed it out, we camped out with our faces pressed to the front room windows. Hey, it was free entertainment. It was fun for a day or so.

But you can only take so much cawing, so we closed the windows and griped and endured.

Then they went away. I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining. Not at all.

For the last month it’s been quiet. I can hear other birds – pretty sounding ones. My windows are open again.

And then I found the walnut. And tonight I saw the crows one block down. Sheesh. Have you had anything like this? Any suggestions????


  1. Wow. I've seen quite a few over our way, too. Get a dog? Or a bunch of really big cats. LOL.

  2. Wow, we don't have that many crows around here. We have grackles, which I don't like simply because they raid our bird feeder meant for smaller songbirds. I hope it gets quiter at your house!

  3. Leisha,
    Yes, either that or turn a blind eye to the neighborhood teenagers. But that could get scary.

    It's only been in the last few years, and I hope it's a passing phase. Grackles seem pretty smart, too. I just looked them up and saw where they were soaking stolen dogfood in puddles to make it easier to eat. Sorry they're stealing your bird food!


Theme images by Zarin Ficklin. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright 2011

Site by Zarin Ficklin