Patsy Brown is a local resident in my area. A crow in the neighborhood, Jake, has become her most frequent visitor. As Brown is a retired Registered Nurse, Jake is also her most recently recovered patient.
"The first time I saw him in the tree by my house, I didn't know what to do. So I sang him a song. He came down."
She noticed Jake had difficulty flying, likely due to a squirrel attack. Brown has a medical background, and knew that feeding Jake a high protein diet could help him heal faster. After a few weeks of feeding him roasted peanuts, steak, and meatloaf, Jake was able to fly better. He later rejoined his family. "His feathers grew right back. I couldn’t believe it.”
By supporting the crows, Brown now has a front row seat to observe their behaviors and strong social bonds. "They share better than people," Brown says. She has also observed them dipping their food in water before they eat it to prep it and make it more palatable. Jake seems to be the leader of the group. Because crows are good at recognizing and remembering human faces, there are many accounts of crows who leave presents for humans that are kind to them. I ask Brown if she has gotten any presents yet. She says, "No. They owe me."
"I don’t want to be known as the crow lady," Brown says, "it’s like a cat lady. But with all this isolation he came right up to me. The first time I saw him in the tree by my house, I didn't know what to do. So I sang him a song. He came down. Next time you see them you should try singing them a song too." I did try, but I have not had luck yet. Maybe one day they will visit me too.
Jake and the other crows come to visit Brown every day. While we continue to social distance, Brown's story shows that connecting to nature can help us feel less isolated.
Below are eight ways you can connect with nature and improve the ecological health of your neighborhood.
1. Consider Helping Local Animal Populations With Rehabilitation
Whether it is a dehydrated bee, an injured crow, or a trapped insect in your house, helping local wildlife is a good way to make a positive impact in your environment. Just remember to always do research on the animal beforehand so you don't do more harm than good. You can get advice from experts at local wildlife rescue centers -- or, if you can't find a nearby resource, try a local animal hospital which likely can point you in the right direction. Additionally, wildlife rescue centers and animal shelters often offer opportunities to volunteer.
You may want to have old towels or blankets on hand for transporting animals. In my experience, putting small animals like squirrels or birds in shoe boxes works well. (Use gloves or a cloth when handling to avoid scratches or bites.) With the proper research, you can feed injured or starving animals the food that works best for their diet. Even if the only thing you have on hand is water, it goes a long way for the health of the animal or organism.
2. Grow FREE Groceries