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Turf War

November 3, 2009

P1000388There’s a turf war going on in my neighbourhood with casualties by the hundreds daily. Corvus Corvidae vs Rhizotrogus majalis. Sounds ominous? Well it’s kind of funny. I see the battle during my fall commute home. Crows vs Grubs. Like most Vancouverites, I’m aware of the Crow population and its migratory patterns, but I kinda like the evening clash just before dusk as the crows head east.Just hanging out watching me.
My neighbourhood is under a migration path so we see a few crows all year-long. Starting as early as late August the European Chafer grubs make their first appearance and the crows, skunks and other grub feeders put on their bibs and settle in for a nice fall harvest of their own. Enter the comedy.

First let me say, I’m not a land owner and did not plant or pay for a lawn. The people around me have, and as I walk home, during this specific time, there is a rabble of lawn protectors and field medics defending their turf.
There’s the man who stands outside for hours occasionally banging an aluminum roasting pan with a wooden spoon to temporarily drive the crows away. The father who encourages/pays/bribes his kids to run around the lawn scaring away the crows.
The parade route.I look nervously at a cat, that looks small when compared to the hundreds of birds feasting in the grass.
For those warriors who can’t be home at the appointed hour, plastic covers the lawn held down by bricks, buckets of water and other unsightliness. A makeshift scarecrow seems to do the trick.
My neighbour has just arrived home from work, but he doesn’t go inside. He nods, settles his coffee on the roof of his vehicle, and pulls a newspaper out of his briefcase. Just standing there, the crows give him a wide berth. The lady down the street sits in a lawn chair with her hose and sprayer at the ready.
I am amazed at the strength and tenacity of these crows. They really make a mess digging up the lawn with their tiny beaks’ but I guess many beaks make light work.Crows on the hunt!
There is the occasional lawn that is left completely alone with out anyone guarding it – why? No Grubs! But if your neighbours don’t get rid of their grubs, well they’ll be back in your lawn next year.
Tricky. In this day of cars in the back garage, hiring someone to do your lawns, everyone working long hours, when do you meet your neighbour? How do you broach the topic of grubs with a complete stranger and tell them how to manage their lawn?
And what about the crows? Hardly anyone plants anything that the birds can eat? Just more and more concrete and lawns…
Don’t they deserve this feast? Maybe this is Mother Nature’s way of putting some balance back in the food chain?

Fragile creature?For now, I enjoy watching the next crazy thing my neighbours will do to protect their turf.

Authors note: I am not a biologist, zoologist or any form of expert, but I have included a couple of links for those of you who might be experiencing ‘Invasion of Rhizotrogus majalis’.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Radhika permalink
    November 25, 2009 10:07 am

    these local updates are the best part of your journal! Vancouver’s crows deserve a memorial!

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