OUTWITTING HENRY


crows 2 I knew life was going all too smoothly around here. When the last invasion of feathered rats departed, I thought life would return to normal. We again claimed the garden as our own; a peaceful co-existence with the birds and the bees. And then Henry appeared out of nowhere.

He came silently, treading gently on the red brick patio, gazing unhurriedly from front and then side to side as he made his way to the bird bath which is centered amongst pink pelargoniums just reaching full summer bloom.

I had to admit that his glossy black feathers looked like someone had polished him up with some carnauba wax, and he was making the most of it. He actually strutted across the yard with a smug and arrogant look on his face. When he had assured himself that all was safe and he was alone, he flew up and jumped into the bird bath. He drank and bathed and generally looked pretty cute. So I named him Henry. It seemed fitting. Rather like Henry VII; he wanted it so he took it.

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The next day while watering the pots, I began to fill the bird bath, only to see it all slimy and fogged up. When I called Dr. Advice to take a look, he told me that Henry washes his food in it. Well, that’s OK I thought. In fact it’s rather nice to know that we have such a persnickety visitor, as long as he gets his food elsewhere.

That was Monday. By Tuesday he was bringing large hunks of bread over to wash, and I could see this might be the ruination of my cute little bird bath. On Wednesday I discovered several small offerings he had brought me submerged in the murky depths. There were several small pieces of walnut shell, a marble, and a large shiny screw. On Thursday, he decided to throw a party, and several of the black freeloaders showed up for dinner. Well, you know how fast a party can get out of hand when the parents aren’t at home.

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Up until this time Charlie, our Jack Russell Terrorist, had not roused himself enough to notice the new visitors. However, when they all landed up on the roof and began a loud drumming session, Charlie went berserk. There are not too many things louder or more insistent than a Jack Russell in full pursuit of prey. The sound and the fury is unimaginable. The crow population was in grave danger.

Temptations of dog cookies will do no good in a case like this. Threats of kennel imprisonment are neither heard nor obeyed when the hunt is on.

Again Dr. Advice calmly came to our rescue, solving the situation quickly and without the angst Charlie and I were putting into it. He simply went out and emptied the bird bath. Problem solved, and Henry and his loud partying pals have moved on for the time being.

Charlie has resumed his usual position, stretched out in relaxed comfort on an old Indian blanket, head on pillow, but eyes open, ever alert for trouble.