corn, second attempt

When the replacement corn planting emerged, I guarded the sprouts all weekend long.  In my experience, they’re most vulnerable before their leaves start unfolding.

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They are one dewdrop wide, at this point. I like when the droplet perches perfectly on top–I think it must be the inspiration for those mirrored-glass garden gazing balls, made to keep witches out of the garden. (They cannot abide their own distorted reflection, is why.)

My gospel warned me that even though I treated the corn seed, I still might lose some sprouts:  “It stands to reason that if a bird has established the habit of digging up seed corn for food, it will continue to destroy a certain amount of seed by digging it up, before becoming discouraged with the locality for furnishing a meal.”

Yes.

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I thought I allowed for this eventuality by sowing the seed corn thickly. I did not consider that a crow might obsess so: this row, for example, suffered systematic testing for several feet.

I thought when the second leaves unfurled, I could relax my watch.

Wrong.

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This one was nearly half a foot tall. Why, crow? Why? I do think the crow might be losing interest, as this was a half-hearted attempt–the taproot, still anchored, is unbroken and the top hasn’t got that death-wilt complexion.   I propped it up, hilled it, and am hoping for the best.

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The baby corn plants are over a week old now. They have sucked all the good from their seeds. Still bearing pine tar and ash, the kernels are but hollow husks of their former starchy plumpness. How many more must fall, before these crows are convinced?

I’m researching further options.

Allies:  From contemporary Cornell information, I learn that a Great Horned Owl would be an “important predator on crows and nestling.”  Hawks and eagles eat crows too, as do “snakes, raccoons, and man,” according to the sources of Fairfax County Public Schools.  And recipes make crow edible, perhaps.

Laughing it offMoe and Joe Crow, Two Corny Crows

Vigilante action:  Fifty years before Cornell published their pine-tar recommendation, an 1858 tale entitled “A Legend of Crow Hill” described Hans Vanderdonk, who “among the flocks of crows…waged a continual war.” Hans had many strings to his bow:   “A hundred bits of tin, wood, and looking glass”, “numerous scarecrows”, “a successful shot with a long gun.”  This is my favorite:  “Sometimes he made the crows drunk on corn soaked in whiskey, and as they reeled about the hillocks knocked them on the head.”

Legal recourse:  I could draft a cease-and-desist, maybe.  In True Grit, Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) tried that on a different species with the same palate:  he read a rat a writ.

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