For the last two years or so, all the crows in the Defence Colony-Jangpura flyover area absolutely refuse to even touch the corn spread out on the roadside for birds by people, while the pigeons continue to gobble them up. One does not see squirrels nearby either—but the crows stand out by their steadfast refusal to touch the corn
For a couple of years now, I have observed, along with the people who spread corn and other grains, both coarse as well as otherwise, by way of birdseed on the Defence Colony-Jangpura flyover in New Delhi, that the crows have stopped eating corn when spread. They used to go for it, along with other grains, but now wait for the more expensive ‘jowar’ (millet, sorghum) or ‘bajra’ (pearl millet).
Crows are supposed to be extremely intelligent creatures, and for years I have been laying out water in assorted bowls for them as well as for other birds and creatures, as a result of which they tend to let me get quite close before shying away. Theory is that a few generations of crows in the neighbourhood are now comfortable with my presence, and some will let me come within a metre if I don’t make sudden moves and keep my arms very visible.
Very rarely, I have also been successful, especially during the summers, in getting them to pick up pieces of biscuit or ‘roti’ from my hands. Of late, however, they appear to lose interest in the biscuits and take the rotis away, to dip them in water and then eat them. They’ve also become more aggressive with attacking smaller birds at the water baths.
However, for the last two years or so, all the crows in the neighbourhood absolutely refuse to even touch the corn spread out on the roadside for birds by people, while the pigeons continue to gobble them up. One does not see squirrels nearby either—but the crows stand out by their steadfast refusal to touch the corn. This is being repeated for effect—because crows used to be the biggest pests in corn fields at one time.
This is very amazing, because crows are natural scavengers, and would usually eat almost anything. It is not as though they are over-fed or selective—drop any other kind of waste food, and they will go for it with great gusto. But a single phone call to a friend who is a farmer, and plants Monsanto’s “DEKALB” brand seeds, re-confirms that the crows don’t disturb his fields anymore either.
And here’s the latest on why the crows may not be eating genetically modified (GM) corn any more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html
Not a very recent article, it has been around for a while, but gains importance again in this context. Please take a close look at this photo, and see how the crows are simply not going anywhere near the corn spread on the pavement: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vm2827/6580715503/in/photostream
Look closely, and you will see the crows lined up on the vertical wire just centimetres away from the corn, but steadfastly refusing to eat it. While the pigeons gobble away.
Please come to the Defence Colony/Jangpura flyover in Delhi, any morning, and take a look. And then let us know—should we be worried, if even the crows won't eat it?
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)