News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Editorials

May 9, 2014

RONN MOTT: A tale of crows, squirrels and cats

TERRE HAUTE — I have always felt crows were extremely smart members of the bird family. It has been said a crow can get a picture of your face and know from encounters with you if you are a good person or a bad person, as far as the crow is concerned.

The other day my cats were in my side yard and there was a huge uproar of noise from the crows. So I went outside and there were three or four adult crows flying around this one fairly small tree. In one of the lower branches was a baby crow, and it was perched, not communicating or paying attention to the older ones. And then on the sidewalk just a little bit away from them were my two male cats, Magic and Mellow.

They were looking up with what passes for bewilderment, and I’m sure they were curious as to what the noise was about. But the crows were obviously upset because the baby crow was not going to move, or so it seemed. My two healthy cats were too close to the baby crow as far as the adult crows were concerned.

To small animals, a crow can be a dangerous creature. First of all, he’s a big bird and has a lot of weight behind him. Secondly, his beak can hit you with the speed and power of a jackhammer and could seriously injure cats. So what I wanted to do was get my cats inside the house, out of danger, out of sight, and maybe the baby crow would take off. So that’s what I did.

Sure enough, in the length of time I coached the cats inside, the baby crow flew away. It must have been able to fly because it didn’t take very long for it to disappear.

I guess it got across the street to Collett Park because the crows were over there making a ton of noise and dive bombing themselves on six or seven squirrels in the area.

I don’t know if it was the baby crow in a tree, but the crows were really going after the squirrels. One crow rolled a squirrel over, striking it from the air. The squirrel wasn’t hurt … it was knocked over but kept on running. It seemed like an old-fashioned dog fight with the crows being the in-the-air participants while the squirrels were on the ground. I didn’t see the baby crow again, but it must have been in the area to cause all of this difficulty. Crows are smart birds with strong paternal instincts.

This time of year the crows that have come in from the woods, fields and farming areas are normally back out in what we should call their native habitat. They’re in the city in the winter time because we provide food, and it is much warmer than the open countryside.

I don’t know what happened to the baby bird. It is one of the biggest baby birds I have ever seen. I hope the parents got it to safety and hope it enjoys the summer in the open country. My cats had not gone after the bird. Mostly, it appeared they were simply surprised by the noise and such.

The squirrels didn’t seem to suffer any harm from the crows, and my two favorite guys, Magic and Mellow, didn’t either.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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Editorials
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