I was walking westward on the Virginia Street Extension this morning when a crow dropped something black on the dirt path just a few steps from me. Nudging the object with my toe, I saw it was a mussel. I’ve seen a crow take a clam, and now a mussel. These clever birds seem quite adapted to a shoreline existence. With the screeching of a very annoyed crow in my ears, I walked on. Just a few steps later this bright new Mussel Quarantine poster caught my eye. I wouldn’t bother posting it here except that a couple of weeks ago I saw a man clamber down the rip-rap on the east side of the park, poke purposefully among the rocks, and come up with a bag full of fat mussels. They can be very good to eat! Except when they’re not.
I don’t imagine that the naturally occurring poison in the mussels at this time of year will bother the crows. They will have adapted to it millennia ago. The crow that dropped the mussel picked it up again after I left, and flew away, probably to a place with a harder surface where the shell will break open when dropped from a good height. Crow beaks don’t make very effective chisels, say the experts. Good for picking and fishing things out, not good for breaking or splitting things.