The Way of the Crow



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A Crow's Diet

Crows are renowned for pecking through old garbage, and eating all kinds of things tossed aside by humans. Thanks to Spirit, I had the opportunity to examine more fully a crow's dietary choices. In this respect, I was careful to compile notes on Spirit's food preferences, and general eating habits. Of course, he had ample opportunity to sample foods which the ordinary crow may only dream about! He was able to ignore and show his distaste for certain foods, as there were always several options -- in other words, he was spoiled! So, Spirit's food choices cannot be fairly applied to a crow’s choices in the natural environment; however, I feel confident that, given the opportunity, most crows would have likes and dislikes similar to Spirit's.

For instance, Spirit loved cucumbers! I suspect that most crows in the wild would react with the same enthusiasm towards cucumbers or homemade cucumber salad. I would frequently toss a piece of cucumber to him, and he would eagerly proceed to hollow it out, leaving only the shell. He was especially fond of the seeds, which were the icing on the cucumber cake for him. They were a delectable item to be savoured, slurped, or swollowed whole. The cucumber was Spirit’s favourite vegetable, if one is to judge food by the amount of enjoyment in devouring it.

In the summer, when the blueberries ripened, I would usually take Spirit to the field where he could eat among the berry bushes. He was adept at picking the berries from the stalks, and capable of cleaning a bush of its berries in a matter of minutes. Feeling mischievous, I once placed a full quart box of berries in his pen. The result was hilarious! There were berries everywhere. Spirit upset the box and was literally bathed in berries. I was afraid he would overdose!Fortunately, he was soon able to eat his way around the problem, so to speak.

Grapes, too, were a favourite fruit of his. There is a huge grape stalk near my cabin. It is a very old variety producing medium size dark purple grapes. The grapes are somewhat tangy, but have an excellent flavour, and make wonderful wine and jelly. In the autumn, when the grapes turned a deep purple colour, Spirit would occasionally fly to the bush, where I would place him in an open low sided box, and set it among the vines in easy reach of the fruit. I would leave him there for awhile, so he could enjoy the natural environment, and the all you could eat buffet.

He would eat a variety of nuts, although, peanuts were his favourite. He had two methods for dealing with the peanut shells. He would stab the shells with the point of his beak. The other method was to pick up the peanut shell, and crush it in his beak. He was very clever with his beak, and shelled peanuts quite easily. Occasionally, I would shell the peanuts for him, if I thought he needed a quick treat.

Of course, Spirit was fond of almost any kind of meat, although he especially had a good appetite for hamburger, bologna, and roasted chicken. The raw hamburger was probably his favourite, although he relished pecking the meat from baked or fried chicken bones. As for bologna, he preferred Larson's waxed variety, as do I. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not a big eater of bologna, but there are times when a mustard and bologna sandwich tastes good.

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