Ravens .........Crows......??????

   Ravens ……….Crows ……????????



            Mike Capron

I can’t tell a Raven from a Crow.  I have watched the black birds for years.  They show up in places where I am not looking for them. Anne’s granddaddy lived in the Holland Hotel in Alpine, TX when he sold his ranch and moved to Alpine. He lured a couple of crows to his open bedroom window, and got them gentle enough to take to the Tap room downstairs. The newspaper in Alpine, (The Alpine Avalanche) had an article in it about the beer drinking crows at the Tap Room. 

 The Crows have a way of making a living close to people. We had a couple, probably a pair that stayed close to the chuckwagon at the Long X ranch during the spring and fall cow works.  They were watching to see if any cowboys scraped out any scraps. 

Cotton told me about one that flew next to him about eyeball height when he was riding outside circle at a long lope. Cotton said the crow would land out front of him and wait for him to catch up and then take off and follow him again at eyeball height. Cotton never understood what the crow was looking for, but the crow was inquisitive and consistent. 

I found one that had been crippled at the ranch, a couple years ago. Not sure what had happened but he had one wing that was badly crippled, not broken, but not usable. I took him home to Sheffield and tethered him with a six foot leather string to a big pile of rocks in the back yard and taught him to eat out of my hand. He got very gentle and would ride on my arm and stay with me all day. I took him everywhere  I went and he was very gentle around people. I could set him on the back of a chair in the studio and he would be happy there until I moved him. He was happy turned loose in the yard and would go off for a couple hours and come home after a short tour of the neighborhood. His wing was healing some but it never got to where he could fly. He would run and jump and flap dragging his leather strap. He was always trying to return to his old wild ways. He was turned loose in the neighborhood and would come and go from the studio. He stayed around the studio and our neighborhood but got to going farther and farther from the studio. Everyone in the neighborhood would report on his whereabouts and I let him wander at his free will, hoping his wing would heal up. He disappeared one day, so maybe his wing healed up and he returned to his old self. We hoped he would return some day, but we never saw him again. 

I have watched a pair for a couple of years between Sheffield and Ozona  during the nesting season. I wished that I would have keep records of their nesting habits. They have a perfectly sheltered nest in one of the road cuts on I-10.  They have a nest of little crows around the first of April and it takes a month or a little longer to raise the young crows. I had never fed them before this year, but always watched to see if I could figure out their hunting and eating habits. The nest is not far from a roadside park and I figured they would raid the trash barrels, but I never caught them around the trash barrels. Certainly some road kills on the interstate, but I never saw them at a road kill. The interstate is so dangerous and busy. I never could figure out where they were getting enough food to feed these young crows, so I thought it would be interesting to start feeding them close to the nest. They were very close to the nest before the eggs hatched. After the young crows became visible from my feeding position they would watch me, but not make a sound. I left a couple cans of dog food at the bottom of the cliff below the nest and when I did I would make a cawing sound to let them know I had left some food. They got to flying overhead and cawing back at me while I was leaving the food, but they never came very close, just flew over me and would land in a near by dead cedar and wait for me to leave. I watched and fed the two older crows for month or so while they tended to the young crows. A couple days ago all the young crows had left the nest and were on the rocks above the nest. I didn’t see them fly any, they were just jumping and flapping on the ground above the nest. Mom and Dad were close by, but not interacting any.  Yesterday all five of the crows were flying together back and forth across the interstate from hill top to a dead cedar. I watched all five in the dead cedar while I left the canned dog food on the ground in the same spot as always. I can’t wait to see if they stick around and let me continue to feed them. Anne said I might need to find a little moonlight job to help pay for all this crow food.  




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