Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Feathered Thief

My reputation of robbing crows' nests and raising the young had spread enough for a counselor from a Summer Camp Hazen in Chester, Conn. to stop by to ask if I had an extra one that he could take to Camp for the Summer. Always ready to do a good dead I gave him one and wished him well. Little did I know I had given him a serious problem. I called the crow Snow Ball and he settled in well. The campers enjoyed taking food from meals and feeding him out of their hands. He would show up where there was activity such as a ball game where he might fly from base to base and have to be chased out of the danger of the heavy hitters. But although the camp offered so many activities that the campers reveled in a serious situation developed. There had to be a kleptomaniac among the campers or the counselors. Nothing like it had ever been a problem in the past. There were a couple of dozen units with 8 campers and a consular in each canvas sided tent. Tent after tent found things missing. Campers were suspect and grilled to no avail. Morning after morning someone would miss a watch or coins or rings and the frequency made it obvious that the culprit was active most nights. Night watches were established at which two counselors watched all night with no results for 10 nights in a row. Then one of the watch, preparing to sack out after his watch saw Snow Ball fly out of a tent with something shinny in his beak. What a glorious solution not to find a guilty camper. The next morning at daybreak several counselors were up and ready when again Snow Ball flew out with something in his beak. They followed and found the crow flew to a rain gutter of the mess hall. There was a treasure of objects campers had not missed along with many wrist watches. rings as well as bright pieces of broken glass. A bucket full of treasure. A great party was held for the bird and the solution of the mystery. Later in the camping season Snow Ball perched on the barn of a neighboring farmer's and the farmer shot and killed the poor bird. When told I wondered if I had any responsibility in that troublesome situation but my friend said the bird was the big event of the season and would never be forgotten. If I had taught Snow Ball to talk perhaps he would have told the campers what he was doing.

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