2 ̶ Snowplows
Snowplows are adept at spreading garbage.
Last Wednesday morning, I stacked my week’s garbage at roadside. We don’t have curbsides. We live in the bush. Overnight a blizzard had deposited ten or twelve inches of snow in our driveway. Sometime during the night, a plow cleared the main access road so that at dawn there were only two or three inches of snow uncleared. However, our driveway was plugged solid. I deposited our bag and bin at roadside, there being to other location to leave it.
The bag and bin were solid black. No way to mistake it for snow. The next time I checked, the bag and bin had been relocated several metres down the road. One had been hoisted over the snowbank into the ditch.
Fortunately, most of the contents were intact. Not so the last time. A month ago, also after a snowstorm, another plow knocked the stuffing out of my bags and bins This was the work of a small blade on a pickup truck contracted by the municipality to clear the windrows from seniors’ driveways after the big plow had cleared the access road. The small blade had clearly targeted my garbage and smeared it over heck’s half acre.
Ravens would never do that. Ravens may be aggressive, sure, but they are not bullies. Ravens can tell the difference from a snowbank and a bag or bin. And ravens pick up garbage, not spread it.
In that hour I spent with the wild birds, I observed the courtesies they offer one another. When a raven swooped down to the dinner table, the chickadees scattered to give it free rein. As soon as it flew off with a beakful, they swarmed the feeders again.
Only once in that hour did both ravens show up simultaneously. Still, The Young ‘Un clearly deferred to Old Moss Bill. In that hour, only one quarrel broke out. The Young ‘Un managed to snag two slices of bread, but, they were the last two slices. As soon as The Young ‘Un took off, Old Moss Bill was on his tail. The aerial ballet stretched over several minutes as Old Moss Bill tried to make him drop it. Clearly, Old Moss Bill was outraged at The Young ‘Un’s disrespect for his age and seniority. The Young ‘Un won that bout.
Then the two ravens took turns retrieving the meatballs I had scattered. The Young ‘Un remained skittish. I suspect that he sensed my presence. He approached the meatballs a dozen of more times, and retreated as many times. Finally he would pick off a meatball and fly off. Old Moss Bill captured up to six meatballs to The Young ‘Un’s one.
Both ravens grappled with two or three meatballs before settling for one or two. On the last run, Old Moss Bill succeeded in taking off with three meatballs. Three meatballs! Payback for The Young ‘Un that took the last two slices of bread.
As I said, winter brings out the ravens and the snowplows.
Each specie performs a useful function.
Only one is welcome at our bird feeders.
The other one, well . . .
The other one needs to learn table manners.