American Crow


Wyatt said he wanted the story of the "big crow shoot" in his Island web site . I think we should do it for him . How about I do a draft of what I remember , and you correct , add to it , and send it to him . In as much as you were the driving force behind the operation , you should be the final arbiter of what is said about how it went down ! (Pun intended!) So here goes what I remember :

" Crows got a bad rap 30 or 40 years ago , when it became known that they had a liking for eggs , including duck eggs . The shooters of Grenadier much preffered that the duck eggs hatched into ducklings , matured into succulent Blacks and Mallards , to be shot by them in the fall . So the King of the Island decreed that the Grenadier Crow population needed to be reduced .

This task seemed to call for a specialist ; the local gunners had done battle against the wily , black devils , but with very limited success . Their rather casual approach involved sneaking into a low patch of woods with shotguns and perhaps a camo jacket , and then playing a tune on a crow call . If all went well , the nearest Crows would dispatch a scout to see what the cawing was all about . If this bird was killed , some of the others might fly over to investigate ; more often they would mill about , out of range , and eventually retire to roost , perhaps sadder , but definitely wiser . We needed an approach that would entice the whole Island Crow population to fly into battle at once

Enter Mark Jones who explained that:

My equipment included the following:

A 1960 Abercrombie, second hand,complete with" mutton" leather case  Browning square backed 12,with Polly choke...I still use it! Shoots better than I can aim it...made in 1933. Careful maintenance counts!

..all for $150.00. which I bought at Abercrombie& Fitch I also purchasd a stuffed Great Horned owl, a battery powered , amplified , tape player , with twin speakers , definitely state of the art . The tape was professionally made , depicting Crows enraged over the discovery of an Owl , their traditional avian enemy , because the Owls would raid the Crows nest in the dark , when the Crows were handicapped .

The intended "killing field" was carefully selected , a lane of low scrub leading to the pole mounted Owl decoy , behind which was a rough blind where the gunners , and the tape player , were concealed. Being early summer , it was already a warm morning , with the occasional Mosquito buzzing the sweltering , camo clad shooters , when Mark turned on the tape player , and cranked up the volume . The strident tones rang out across the big thicket , and in no time , the chorus of alarmed Crows answered the challenge ! "Get ready , here they come", hissed our leader , and sure enough , a small squadron of the black feathered quarry were flying up the lane , shreiking at the Owl , perched aggressively on the pole . Alas , just at that moment a small zephyr of breeze arrived , and , "OH NO !" , down went the pole and the wonderful Owl decoy . The onrushing Crows made a hasty 180 turn , and retreated to distant trees , where they could be heard discussing the whole , recent , action .

Can Crows actually laugh ? I'm sure they did that morning . "