For the Birds Radio Program: Pot Pourri

Original Air Date: Dec. 21, 1987

Laura brings us up to date on her cell phone tower battle and Icarus the Crow. (3:49) date verified

Audio missing


(Recording of an American Crow)

So far the North Shore migratory corridor remains free of towers. Last week the Town of Lakewood’s Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to refuse Northwestern Bell’s parent company, U S West New Vector Group, a permit for a variance to build a 290 foot cellular telephone tower on Moose Mountain. The vote was based on a technicality in the zoning code–the Board of Adjustment felt the proposal was properly addressed by the township’s Zoning Board, which has already unanimously rejected the tower. But the matter will not end here, because U S West now plans to bring the issue to District Court.

In a totally unrelated matter, a few listeners have asked me how Icarus is doing. You may remember that Icarus the crow was shot late last summer, and a Duluth mailman rescued and brought him to me. Well, the infection in Icarus’s foot has cleared up, and in spite of the fact that he’ll never be able to fly again, he’s doing just fine. He sleeps in a playpen in my basement, and each morning hops up the stairs and spends most of the day sitting on the back of a chair in the living room over a substantial pile of newspapers. When it starts getting dark outside, he hops down the basement stairs and jumps back to the playpen all by himself.

He’s adjusting well to life with humans. He loves it when I read to my children–at least, he draws near, puffs up his feathers, preens, and relaxes. If this behavior is any indication, his favorite book is Goodnight Moon, though he’s almost as responsive to anything by Dr. Seuss, and the Atlantic Monthly. On the other hand, he hates Paul Simon music–he gets agitated and hops restlessly back and forth whenever I play a Simon tape. He’s far more partial to my kids’ records by Raffi and the Chipmunks. I haven’t yet made a study of his response to Beethoven, but I’m working out a little research project about the literary and musical tastes of crows.

Icarus has taken charge of both my cat and my dog. Bunter is a Golden Retriever who would probably let a gerbil boss her around, but Sasha was a more formidable opponent. Icarus weighs little more than a pound–Sasha is 5 times that. If it came to a battle between them, there’s no doubt who would win, but Icarus took the offensive from the start and has Sasha convinced that Crows always win.

He eats just about everything we do–some of his favorites are hard-boiled eggs and hamburger, but he also likes most vegetables and fruits, and cheerios with milk. We can’t leave food unattended at the dining room table any more–he hops over and samples every unguarded tidbit. He loves playing with the facial parts of Katie’s Mr. Potato Head, hides toys behind the living room curtain, and digs up house plants–in other words, it’s pretty much like having a second toddler around. In fact, ever since my two-year old Tommy threw him some big chunks of birthday cake, the two of them have been best friends–they even worked out, all by themselves, a way of playing catch with a tennis ball. Right now Tommy and Icarus seem to be pretty much even in their interests and intellects. But soon Tommy will gain one big advantage over Icarus–he’ll become potty trained. I suspect that housebreaking was a major factor behind early man’s decision to domesticate dogs instead of crows.

(Recording of an American Crow)

This is Laura Erickson, and this program has been “For the Birds.”