[CT Birds] A perplexing Corvid question.............

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jan 24 13:14:07 EST 2012

Just an added topic to the recent thread about Corvids on this site. I have an 
interesting question that has plagued me for many years.

For over 35 years, I have been feeding my local Crows, Ravens and a 
Red-shouldered Hawk - plus my own Chickens from my compost pile in the back 
yard. It is used daily by them all. This compost pile is added to daily from all 
my yard organic waste plus daily table scraps of which they all relish. Through 
the years, i have observed all four species there and observe what they choose 
to eat from it. The question is - How do they tell edible food from all that is 
there, and especially the foods not found normally in their natural world ???

How do they know that a piece of macaroni is eatable, or a glob of butter, or 
cheese or cracker or bread or - I could go on..........

I use to think they knew from billing it, and feeling if it was soft, it was 
edible. But I can't buy that - rubber is soft, and they have never eaten a 
rubber band. Spaghetti, a favorite, does look like a worm and is soft, but other 
human table scraps are not - so how do they know? The Fox, Bear, Coyote, Raccoon 
and Skunk (I call him Charlie) can smell organics, but not birds. So how do they 
separate human food from eatable to in-eatables? A mystery that has haunted me 
for years. Even my Chickens will not tell me their secret to 

Paul Carrier - Harwinton

More information about the CTBirds mailing list