There is a crow living with my chickens.
When I was a litte girl, my grandmother used to pay my brother a nickel for every crow his bb gun could conquer. It was the way of a farm, the way of protecting the corn and the cat food.
Crows in general are brash and bossy, quick to assert themselves. They're not my favorite bird. Neither have I ever paid my children to dispatch them to the other side.
Now this little crow has moved in. It all but roosts with the hens at night. The first few days our rooster chased it off. Patiently it waited on the wall of the compost heap, next door to the chicken chalet. It never, to my knowledge, crowed in that signature raucous way of the crow. In fact it nearly clucked for acceptance as day by day it moved closer to the flock, closer to the steady supply of crumbles and kitchen scraps.
I sort of like the little crow. It hops unevenly. Perhaps a neighborhood boy missed his mark and lost a nickel or a dollar or whatever is paid today to keep the crops safe.
Today the crow is in the chicken yard, pecking away like a tiny black hen. The others take no notice.
My corn is planted, most is up, in a 45-foot windbreak (to be) on the north side of the garden. I inspect it each morning, sometimes twice a day, unable to stop myself from the "knee high by the fourth of July" worries. Will it make it? Will our corn stock the freezer? Will I be fighting off the other, pushier crows with shiny CDs hung from the stalks and funny iconic scarecrows on the fence poles?
Don't think it hasn't occurred to me, either, about the short-term neighbors we had over the past couple of weeks.
But I like the little crow.