The seal pup blinks its eyes, its dorsal tail curls and I think of the Mer-Baby lost at sea and swept to earth on a wave.
I came upon this darling during a morning walk along Puget Sound. Seal Sitters had set up a barrier with tape to protect this baby from people and dogs. (They come onshore to rest and even “helpful” people can cause them unintended harm.) We in Seattle are lucky to have nature writ large. And a community of volunteers such as Seal Sitters who devote time and attention to sustaining such beautiful creatures.
Have you ever been divebombed by crows? If so, did you think:
Wait a minute. I like birds. What do crows have against me?
Should I board up the house to protect against a larger attack, ala Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds?
Are they looking for food or protecting a nest?
If it is true that crows remember faces, do I need to start wearing a disguise?
Is this part of a planetary plot? First COVID, now CORVIDS?
The first time this happened – a few weeks ago – I was planting sunflowers in my garden. I felt a tap against my low back. At first, I thought: “Strange. A silent neighbor with aggressive touch? A stranger on our block wanting attention?”
Then I heard a whoosh and witnessed the black wings fly above and away.
The second time I was divebombed, I was pruning. The King Crow flapped away to the top of our Doug Fir. I shook my fist. “Hey…you are not the boss of me!” I shouted at him.
I am not the only one in our household who has been divebombed. I cautioned my husband to at least wear a bike helmet while mowing the lawn. He has been strafed by a Corvid four or five times in the last week.
We’ve laughed over these incidents. How cool – what are the crows trying to tell us?
But I do not feel as comfortable while gardening.
To quell my angst, my husband shared an article by Lyanda Haupt, author of Crow Planet. Her blog piece in The Tangled Nest says that crows will divebomb in spring and that the behavior is linked to protecting their nestlings.
Small fry birds with sweet little nests can hide in shadowy corners, and more easily escape human detection.
Not so with the crows. Being loud and bulky, they are at a disadvantage as nesters. We humans are on their radar.
Haupt is not a crow apologist, but asks us to consider matters from the complicated standpoint of an urban nesting crow parent. It’s spring. Give them a break.
She reminds us that once the fledgling is grown, the divebombing will stop. Soon the crows will turn their gaze towards the raptors – eagles, hawks, owls – to protect their kin.
Nature sure is wild. Would that some human families take such good care of their young.
So there you have it. No longer will I curse the crow. But I might just shop for a CORVID mask to disguise myself and keep a bicycle helmet handy.