Crows are, of course, strongly associated with Halloween in European cultures. Given their association with death, they are a natural symbol of the time when the divide between the living and the dead is thought to be at its narrowest. They are also considered to help the dead find their way to the afterlife. So, it seemed obvious that I needed a crow-themed Halloween post.

Rather than appropriate photos off of Google images, as I have in past years, I decided to have my own Halloween photo shoot with Gwen and Stephen. The first step was to put a pumpkin in their enclosure, specifically in their log like this:


Corvids are notoriously cautious, especially about new things in their environments. They have a set ritual for checking something out which consists of watching something from afar, slowly moving toward it, always taking two steps forward and one step back in case the unknown object proves to be dangerous. Presumably this is an important survival technique and may be one reason why they tend to live long lives.

When I first placed the pumpkin in the log, I added four super worms, usually an irresistible treat. G&S were having none of it. So I upped the ante and put dinner (yummy mice) next to the orange orb of doom.

True to form, Gwen and Stephen first had to discuss this development by grunting and honking at each other:


Then Gwen had to pretend she had no interest in dinner because she absolutely, positively, had to preen that very moment:

The next step was aerial surveillance of the pumpkin:


Gwen is usually the one who ends up summing the courage to deal with whatever nuisance I have managed to perpetrate upon them, so she finally flew down and strutted around the enclosure pretending she had no interest in dinner, pecking at some empty boxes while making smaller and smaller concentric circles around the pumpkin.


But in the end, this time it was Stephen who took the plunge. She flew back up to a branch and he descended, popped over to the log, and grabbed a mouse. After 84 photos, I finally had my money shot:


So Happy Halloween from all of us here, with feathers and without.