The more I learn about crows, the more I am convinced that, when the bomb drops, they will be the only survivors. It is amazing how clever they are, and setting out to destroy them on the Chayne increasingly feels like a lost cause. It is almost as if they have a sixth sense for danger, and the fact that they have learned to recognise not me but my rifle ensures that they always appear within easy range when I am unarmed.
Walking through the newly planted triangle wood this morning, I checked out the progress of the young trees. Bracken is starting to emerge through the brown mat of last year’s decaying growth, and I poked here and there at young shoots. A hundred yards out into the field below me, a dead lamb was stretched out over a tussock of grass. It had been entirely hollowed out by crows and its eyes were wholly absent. Crows always remove eyes from their victims first while foxes choose to gnaw off the ears, although I can’t really explain the thinking behind either practice.
As I prodded into the bank around me, I noticed a small scrape between a mesh of dead bracken strands. Something gelatinous and wet lay in its centre. Close examination showed the damp scrap to be the lamb’s eye, plucked and buried by a crow. I had no idea that crows stashed excess food in secret locations, but I suppose it makes perfect sense. Confronted with the dead body of a lamb over twice your size, it is only reasonable to quickly dismantle the corpse, conceal as much as possible and only then fill your crop.
The Chayne is covered in crows, and with intelligence and survival techniques like this, it’s hardly surprising.