Keeping the Meat Clean

The following was told to me by Benny the Rock Dancer, a street artist who lives and performs on the street.  He knew I had written a book about crows, so he began to pay special attention to the ones that hung out in his neighborhood.

Because Benny fed the crows, he said the crows visited him regularly.  But, he said, the crows had a sense of the week, and visited him only a weekdays.  When I visited him on the more crowded weekends, the crows did not stop by, and so we couldn’t watch them together.

One day Benny put a Burrito out for the crows.  And the biggest crow, the head bully, would share it with the others, but first he’d take out the best part.  He’d take out the meat.  Really, he’d savor the best ingredient, eating a little bit of it and then hiding the rest.  He’d put the meat beside the sidewalk, in a place where no human would walk on it.  Then he’d cover the meat with a bit of a ripped napkin.  Really, said Benny.  The crow would do this.  The crow would cover the meat with a piece of napkin, to protect it when he put the pine needles and other debris on top if it, to further hide it.  In this way, his meat wouldn’t get fouled up with dirt and so on.  Then he’d let the other crows have at the rest of the burrito, the rice and tortilla and all that.

One thought on “Keeping the Meat Clean

  1. I am fond of crows, ravens and jays. The behaviour Benny watched was caching. Crows, ravens and jays all will collect food for later and hide it. Since they have a visual memory, they are very careful about witnesses and will enact what I call “false caching.” They pretend to hide a morsel and then fly off with the food concealed – my blue jays like peanuts and will openly carry the on opened nut to a cache, remove it from the shell, cache the shell and depart with the nut/s in their craw to hide elsewhere. That, in pyschological parlance, shows a “theory of mind.”

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