Lucy, my feral Ragdoll resident, sometimes brings her catch into my place. A mourning dove, small brown birds, and even a lizard once. By the time the birds are brought in, they are beyond resuscitation; I was able to save the lizard because its natural deception – a broken tail that moved in a convincing imitation of life – distracted its captor.
This habit of my feral companion throws me into philosophical conflict because some among these victims are the very birds I feed in my backyard. You can see them on my backyard wall in the picture above…engrossed in their daily morning ritual feeding. How do I reconcile their hunt and capture by a resident in my own home? Yet hunting is her undeniable nature.
My daughter assures me that this is Lucy’s way of reciprocating our caring and affection for her. That she brings these items of food inside because she considers this her home…and they are gifts for residents within. This could indeed be true, for I have observed Lucy calling for attention, after bringing a bird in, more than once. And, in some instances, she does not eat the catch that she brings in, or take it to her resting spots, but leaves it in plain sight.
A similar story, one most endearing, is that of a little girl feeding birds – crows – in her yard. What began as an accidental feeding grew into a daily activity…one that is regularly reciprocated in an astonishing way. Click on the image caption below for the entire story. I’ll bet that you will be amazed!
For more on the intelligence of crows, look for an hour-long presentation “A Murder of Crows” by Prof. John Marzludd, and check out characteristics of New Caledonian crows reasoning about hidden causal agents…
Update (Sept. 20, 2015): More about Ravens, 10 Fascinating Facts.