It’s super cold so the love burbles from Gwen and Stephen have stopped temporarily. On the other hand, there’s be a lot of snuggling together at night to keep warm, so I remain confident that G&S are in the Valentine’s Day spirit.
Ruckus, on the other hand, is becoming ever more affectionate with me. I am beginning to think that her intentions may not be entirely platonic. She has refused to bathe for the last couple of weeks (not a way to attract any kind of mate), so today I brought her inside to try and clean her up a bit. She refused to hop into the sink, as she has done before, so I just spritzed her with water until she was soaked. Instead of being furious with me, she hopped into my lap and demanded head scratches and belly rubs. Then I got out the hair dryer and she happily let me dry her off.
Could she think I am allopreening her? Allopreening, or mutual preening, is very common among corvids–much more so than for other birds. It consists of one bird preening the other, usually in a hard to reach place like the back of the head. It is a sign of trust, since it requires one bird to let another into its personal space. It is part of the bonding process, especially between mates.
Several times while I was drying her, Mlle R. spread her wings, bowed, and made a growling sound. Gwen does this to gets Stephen’s attention, although the sound she makes is much more like a knock. I wonder if this is the crow equivalent of wearing Mom’s heels and make-up to be grown-up. Female crows can become sexually mature as early as two years old, but it’s generally a little later. And our girl won’t be 2 until May.