Like many people I lead a busy life. As an entrepreneur I wear many hats in my business and practice, and in my personal life I am sole caregiver for several cats and one dog. Sometimes this means easy-to-fix meals for myself consumed while working at the computer. And at the end of the week it can also mean overlooked leftovers and food items that are not spoiled, but that are not fresh as I would like them to be.
Rather than toss the food in the garbage, or the yard waste recycling bin, if it's not spoiled I'll offer it to the local wildlife first and see what happens.
This has resulted in some very interesting and unusual discoveries. It is very clear that crows have taste buds and preferences for certain foods. For example, if you place out a variety of disparate items such as fruit, garlic mashed potatoes, cream cheese, and gourmet cheese, most crows will go for the garlic mashed potatoes first, followed by the cheeses, leaving the fruit. Who knew that crows liked dairy products? And it is a very funny sight to see a crow with cream cheese squeezing out either side of his face trying to grab just a little more before flying off!
Another day's offering included cheez-it type crackers, BBQ potato chips, and cheese puffs. That day afforded me a bird ballet, as the crows would fly off with a tidbit (BBQ chips first, then cheez-its, and finally the puffs) and then a wave of starlings would sweep in followed by a phalanx of sparrows. As the crows returned the smaller birds would retreat. It looked like a beautiful and carefully choreographed display, and the ground was clear of food in no time.
Today's offering was cherries and cream cheese. I was alerted by crow alarm calls to the presence of a different form of wildlife in the courtyard, one of the local cats was sampling the cream cheese! I laughed as I took her picture because you can see the footprints of a former cat resident in the cement next to her.
A while later one of the three triplet squirrels born in my attic this past spring found himself a treasure trove of cherries. Daintily consuming the first cherry, after finishing he neatly buried the pit in one of the cracks in the cement. Hopefully we will not have a tree growing there next spring!