Black Beauty Has A Beady Eye On The World #birds

Who’s a pretty boy then?

In our house we’re celebrating the recovery of a favorite ‘pet’ – a wise old crow who’s been coming to our garden for years. Just as the dog in “Alf The Workshop Dog” is a real mutt, ‘The Crow of the World’ from the same story is also based on my real-life bird friend. We call him ‘Hook Beak’ – for reasons you can guess from his photo.

He’s the cleverest and bravest of the crows, always first to come down when we throw out food. He swaggers up, looks right in at the window with his beady eyes and squarks at us when he’s hungry. If food is too dry – he takes it to a bowl of water and sits for a few minutes whilst it soaks and softens. If there’s any left over, he hides it for later – digging little holes in the grass and covering with leaves or moss.

Recently he showed up with a wounded leg, hardly able to walk. The other crows were pecking at him, keeping him away from food. He became increasingly bedraggled and we were worried he wouldn’t survive, especially with the constant bullying. We knew he was braver and more confident than most of his oppressors. We guessed he would approach closer than the others if we stayed in the garden to frighten them away. We made up some pasta (his favorite!) mixed with tinned dog meat. Sure enough he flapped down to feed while we stood guard. The bullies just squawked and postured at a distance. His courage and intelligence got him his three meals a day in peace.  This weekend he’s looking glossy and sleek. His limp has more or less gone and he can once more hold his own in the pecking order. He’s also very busy delivering food to a nest in a nearby oak tree – we think he may soon be teaching a young apprentice all his tricks!

The Great Crow Of The World is a major character in my kid’s book Alf The Workshop Dog which  has been doing great and has reached #1 Bestseller in Time Travel, Pets, and Chapter Books in USA, UK and Canada.  To celebrate, the second book in the series Isabella’s Pink Bicycle is going free 12-13-14 May. Come along and meet another animal – that cool pole cat for a tight spot – Frankie Ferret.  Who needs a Fairy Godmother when you’ve got a Ferret Godfather?

Emma Thinx: You can’t bully your way to courage.

Bird Brains

Who the heck ever thought of the term “bird brain”? As a serious intellectual and major literary figure I often find myself humbled by the simple birds in my garden. I have a wonderful crow called “Hook-beak” who lives in a nearby oak tree rookery. I’ve been watching him for the past 5 years so I know he’s at least that old. His favourite little trick to is pick up dry bread and bring it to my bird bath to soften it. 

In France I have my two lovely pigeons Colin (the escaped racing pigeon) and his wild French lover Coline. Yes – he gave up his life of international travel and his batchelor pad in Scunthorpe UK to devote himself to love in France. 

And now I have Bongo, the performing pigeon. Like many quirky old Doris types I have a bird feeder – meant for sweet little birdies. Bongo has been studying it for months. The only thing that distracts him are lady pigeons before whom he poses and warbles before attempting a poorly planned sexual assault. At last he has cracked it. I am going to model my future on this bird. Just a couple more bounces and, if I can stretch just a little further, I’m gonna suck seed. 

Oooh – this blog just gets worse and worse. OK- I know what you really wanted. Blah blah buy my books blah blah. 

Emma Thinx: Do panic! You won’t fly if you can’t flap.