Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff
Sunday 10/24/2004 I'm being watched again. Crows are watching me.
For about a decade I have been operating the moose biological checking station in the Southeast corner of New Hampshire. It happens to be set up at the Region 3 office where I normally work from, anyways. Most years I have been weighing and check twenty plus moose with the peak at twenty-eight last year. This year only 13 were brought to my station.
One thing never ceases to amaze me each year. I am convinced the local crows know it is moose season and watch my every move. We need to remove a front tooth from each moose in order to send it to a lab and have it aged accurately. While we can estimate the moose age by examining their teeth while they are here, tooth sectioning more accurately accesses age. It kind of is a gory sight when we slice each side of the incisor with a rather impressive knife. Then pry the long tooth from the jaw. Lots of folks, I've noticed, sort of wince at this point. But once we've extracted the tooth, the excess gum tissue must be cut and scraped away before we seal the tooth into a coin envelope.
I typically take the few tooth scrapings and cast them out on to the corner of the parking lot. At this point I scan all the roof tops, distant trees and any likely roosting spots for a crow. Any crow. Most times there are none. By the time I get a few dozen feet back into the garage and look back out the window, a crow has flown in and sits gazing at the scraps. Then quickly moves in for the morsels. I'll admit to providing them with a regular feast at times. Hunters are required to bring in whole reproductive tracts from any cow moose taken. Our job is to sort through the heap of slimy tissue and locate two bean-sized ovaries to pickle in alcohol. By the time this is done the hunters are often gone. So I'll deposit this moose debris as well. Kind of out of sight of the neighboring buildings as a rule. Then the crows flock-in in minutes as well. Not just one or two, but a whole squadron seems to dive out of the sky like kamikazes from the sun.
I'm convinced crows are watching us all the time, no matter where we are. I've had blue jays light in trees not far away, when I have been field dressing deer too. My neighbor, Rick Hamlett, once tracked a blood trail from a deer he had shot by looking for blue jays. The jays were scooping up the droplets of blood on the leaves that late fall. We actually live in a more symbiotic world, wildlife and us, than most people realise. Nothing in nature ever goes to waste, not even a blood trail. So it is at the office also. Most insects have been removed by the two frosts, so protein is scarce. A few scraps of meat are a welcomed treat for the local crows. I like the idea of recycling all of the moose that can be.
2004-10-21 Where's the moose?
2004-10-29 Only Spam left for the birds. Last pheasant stocking for the year in NH.
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