Recently my daughter and granddaughter made their first attempt to feed crows . What they did not know as they scattered sugarcoated popcorn on their lawn, was that they would soon have front row seats watching a crow do something they never imagined they would ever see.
Remarkably, 15-30 minutes after they returned to the house after setting the table for the crow banquet, two American crows showed up and slowly walked up to the food offerings. The birds fed for a short while and then departed leaving a small amount of popcorn here and there across the lawn.
Later that same day three crows flew in to the feeding area. While the birds were feeding on the remaining food, one of the crows picked up some popcorn, carried it to another part of the lawn, and pushed the food down into the dry two to three-inch tall grass. It then placed grass clippings atop the stash of food. This behavior was repeated a few more times before the birds left. They thought it was odd that the bird tilted its head sideways each time it hide popcorn.
The next morning two crows reappeared at the recently- opened crow diner. During this visit, one of crows walked over to some of the spots where popcorn had been hidden the day before and retrieved the food hidden there.
Clearly, what my daughter and granddaughter witnessed was a behavior often referred to as short-term hoarding. The bits of grass arranged above each stash served as a marker. In addition, it is believed that when the crow tilted its head sideways at each location of a stash it was forming a mental image of the marker with one eye, as well as the general locale with the other.
After the crows left, my daughter and granddaughter were left with the unforgettable memory of a remarkable example of bird feeding behavior that far exceeded their expectations.
The next time American crows fly into your feeding area, keep a close eye on them. Who knows what you will see?