Sunday, February 25, 2007

Crowing about Pocky-Part 2

What followed was about 40 hours of wild and total chaos. Pocky’s condition improved exponentially and he gorged himself on papaws and salmon, which he naturally had to expel pretty soon; crows either have short digestive tracts or this one was so starved that whatever he ate went right through. Pretty soon my bedroom was covered with a series of artistic streaks of half digested muck which I did not want to analyze. My bed, carpet and walls, in fact any patch of room I did not cover with newspapers and polythene was liberally decorated with half formed guano. My monitor and keyboard were favorite areas as well as the dressing table where Pocky would land near my deodorant collection and preen in the mirror.

At some stage in the proceedings Mom reported on me to Thaththi and he mercifully adopted a “Wait and See” approach since it was a bit late in the day to worry about germs. This meant if anything went wrong (or wronger than it already had,anyway) I could probably look forward to a humbling lecture on how I should be more responsible and not Do Nonsense like this etc. The rest of the family came by to see things for themselves and were rudely judged by Pocky.
The Persian cat gave me a long silent look I wont forget and stayed beyond a radius of 30 feet from my bedroom, for Pockys entire stay.

Within 24 hours Pocky had learned two tricks. To come when he was called, and sit on my mouse pad if I tapped it(perhaps it looked friendly and familiar like an helicopter launch site?) and the Silly Cotton Bud Trick: Cotton buds were to Pocky what a red flag is to a bull- you showed him one, he would take it as a personal challenge, and grab it from you, yank it angrily out of your fingers and place it on the ground. Then he would give you a beady-eyed look as if challenging you to touch it. If you did try to touch it, he would hold your finger very threateningly in a strong black beak and push your hand away. But there was a glint of mischief in the beady eyes that spoke of smiling inside.

This then, is why it has been outlawed to harbor crows, their intelligence is incredible for something that bird-brained, and I believe uncharted, I’m sure if they had opposable digits these little black suited gentlemen would be running the show. This was a wild crow that could not possibly have known a word of human, let alone English and here he was answering to a silly name I had given him within a matter of hours.

The worst challenge was catching hold of him for long enough to force-feed the tetracyclin as per the six hourly course. This was an exercise in guerrilla warfare that took about 2 hours for me to win, and helped me lose a lot of weight since it involved me stalking, crouching , pouncing and missing around my bedroom. Pocky did not want to have a bitter powder shoved down his throat and freely expressed his disgust in no uncertain terms. From the strangled objections it was pretty obvious that I would soon be hauled in by the Wellampitiya Police, not just for harboring a crow but for general breach of peace, environmental pollution, and if Pocky had his say, animal rights violations too.

48 hours of this was the giddy limit. SO two days after I had rescued a weak droopy lump of crow on Greenpath, I opened my windows in Wellampitiya and told Pocky he was free to go.

The croak he let out was definitely something like “that’s more like it” and out he flew like a large relieved black torpedo. Characteristically he did not disappear at once, but sat down on a banana leaf outside my window (prudently just out of my reach in case I changed my mind ) looked hard at me, sideways, and burst into an earnest and elaborate monologue of cackles and caws.

It definitely included an element of grudging gratitude in it, hidden among possible indignation that this was Wellampitiaya I was releasing him in , which was probably an affront to a Colombo 7 crow; I can also safely assume it was something in the lines of “So long and thanks for all the antibiotics!” or he could have been warning me about the plots my cats were hatching, or telling me to go easy on the deodorant- I do wish I had an interpreter.

Either way, within a minute, he was soaring off into the wild blue yonder and I was sitting in a really smelly room, feeling sorely dumped.

Pocky may have left me in favor of freedom but I have sweet memories, which I treasure, of two days spent hiding a little black suited refugee in my bedroom. And now whenever one of them comes and sits on the branches outside my window, I cannot help but smile and wonder if he’s telling me that a friend is going to visit – or if its Pocky come back to see how I am…

Got more endearing crow experiences? All furry, feathery, even slightly mangy stories about Sri Lankan fauna are welcome at :


al juhara said...

Possible tactical uses for well-trained ravens –
• watch the defense lines/ act as early tsunami warning systems,
• fix electrical wiring, paint the exteriors of tall buildings and of course spy on locations of cheating spouses—
• report on traffic snarls and advise on alternative routes..
• in well-organised flocks, help in crowd control, break up mass rallies by dropping guano on unruly crowds/boring public speakers

Mr. Evil said...

And you have disappeared?!?!?