Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cawter Gets the Cheese

The sky above Juneau was gray and foggy. The ground and the streets and the sidewalks were wet, because it had rained in the night, but by daylight the rain had stopped. There was a delightful cool breeze, and the birds were out in force. Granny was delighted with this day, and at lunch time she took a walk to the State Office Building (the SOB) and took the elevator up to the 8th floor. When Granny got to the 8th floor, she bought a skinny mocha and went out on the patio/roof to sit and look at the channel and the hills and the sky and the boats.

Oh, it was so lovely on the roof top. Granny could see boats in the channel, and for a while she watched the tram cars go up Mt. Roberts. Yeil (which is Tlingit for Raven) was going up, and Chaakh (which means Eagle) was coming down. Granny could see all of the roof tops below her, and on many of them whole flocks of pigeons were gathered. On the roof top where Granny was, there were two girls from the alternative high school eating corn chips and two women from the SOB itself eating their lunch and a small flock of crows. One of the crows was calling "Caw, caw, caw," and so Granny named him Cawter.

Granny sat down to drink her skinny mocha where she could see the crows. A very interesting thing was happening. One of the girls with the corn chips was feeding some chips to the crows. Cawter, who in addition to being the noisiest crow on the roof was also the biggest by an entire ounce or two, rushed in and got many chips. Then one of the two ladies eating her lunch began breaking off pieces of cheese to feed to the crows. Again, Cawter ran in very close to get his. And then Cawter did the most amazing thing! Yes, indeed, he did. When the other crows caught a piece of cheese, they would stop and swallow it. While they were swallowing one piece, two or three other pieces would be thrown and other crows would get them. But Cawter caught a piece of cheese and instead of swallowing it he tucked it toward the back of his beak (but where Granny and the two ladies could still see it) and he caught the very next piece as well. It didn't matter where the lady threw the cheese, Cawter would swoop there and catch it before any other crow could get it. Cawter could hold four pieces of cheese in his beak while he caught the fifth! And when he swallowed the cheese, he could swallow five pieces of cheese almost as fast as the other crows could swallow one.

"Well," thought Granny, "no wonder Cawter is the biggest crow on the roof! What a clever crow he is, indeed. There is no doubt that Cawter will make it through the winter very well, and live long, and gather enough food to feed many babies. Yes, Cawter will father many babies, and raise them all, and the crows in Juneau will be just that much smarter. Evolution at work." And Granny was very satisfied indeed, because she just loves smart creatures so very much

7 comments:

J said...

I love the picture with all of the cheese in his mouth. :)

Anvilcloud said...

Now, that's something to crow about.

Maya's Granny said...

J -- that's corn chips. I found a picture of a crow with his mouth full of corn chips, which is exactly what the girls were feeding Cawter.

Ally Bean said...

I applaud this crow's cleverness. How amazing.

Ginnie said...

Sounds like you had a nice time. I love to do that sort of thing...but I usually watch the crazy humans rather than the birds.

gawilli said...

No wonder Cawter was bigger, he has it all figured out!

LauraHinNJ said...

I love that pic too! Crows are underappreciated, don't you think? They are so very smart!

I thought for sure you were going to say that he kept the cheese in his mouth until he got two corn chips to make a *sandwich* with!