Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seattle Crows: Toad Junior Model 2013

Mr Toad hanging out with our Greenwing Macaw Roxanne

We moved into our Ballard home in North Seattle in 1999. We set up a play stand out back for our Greenwing macaw and Diva parrot Roxanne. After a year or two we noticed a particular crow hanging around Roxanne. The crow was notable for one straight toe on its left foot, so easy to spot. We named the crow Mr Toad. Mr Toad seemed particularly interested in Roxanne. He would perch on the fence along Roxanne's play stand, and just sit and watch Roxanne. Her colors must fascinate him. Some times he would sit on the play stand waiting for Roxanne to come out.

Some time later we realized that Mr Toad had a Mrs Toad. A sleek and good looking lady crow. Then one summer the Toads showed up with a Toad Junior. Then every summer after they would show up to introduce the current model Toad Junior to us. And needless to say, every summer we look forward to meeting the new Junior.

Closeup of Mr Toad's toe

The Toad Family: Mrs (near) and Mr Toad, with Junior (farthest)

Juvenile crows are very needy. Very hungry. And very loud. Some are down right obnoxious. It must be tough being crow parents. Some years Junior is more obnoxious than other years. Last year was the worst of the bunch we've seen. Loud, hungry, needy, and obnoxious. Especially at 6:00 am outside our bedroom window. We wondered how the parents managed. Toad Junior Model 2013 is actually sedate by comparison.

The Toads hanging out on Roxanne's stand

We love looking out for the Toads each and every day, and we know that the Toads look for us. They usually sit outside the house and call to let us know they are there. Usually to get fed. We put discarded parrot food out for them to eat, along with the pigeons. We probably have the best fed crows in the city.

Toad Junior Model 2013

Mr and Mrs Toad, along with Toad Junior, visited us for brunch once again today. We're confident that Mr and Mrs Toad will continue to visit us, and Roxanne, each and every day. But we also know from past experience that sooner or later Toad Junior will simply disappear. As he grows up, he will eventually take off on his own to establish his own territory, and his own family. We wish the Juniors would come back to visit, but they never do. We'd love to know how they're doing.

Mr Toad often comes by the back yard just to hang out with Roxanne. Or just to hang out waiting for Roxanne to come out. We figure the Mrs must be out shopping. Or something. We know that one day Mr Toad will simply fail to show up. Crows are reputed to have a lifespan of twenty to thirty years, so we hope the Toads will continue to visit for years to come. It will be a sad day when they finally disappear.

Every once in a while we find an object on our back steps. A nail. A button. A piece of glass. Some trinket like that. We've never seen them do it, but our best guess is that the Toads drop off these tokens as appreciation for feeding them. We like to think so anyway.

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