Cracking in the morning, cracking all night

You may remember this, so I apologize if I’m repeating it, but our house was built in an area that used to be a walnut grove. We, like many of our neighbors, have a big walnut tree in the back yard.

walnut tree

It’s the same one that Emily got herself stuck in last week.

emily in the walnut tree

When she began yowling like a crazy cat, I got the ladder out of the garage and pulled her down.

ladder to get emily down

Yeah, I probably should have left her to figure it out for herself, but if you had heard the noise, you would have done the same if only to save yourself with the neighbors.

So, back to this walnut tree … it’s been doing what walnut trees do – produce walnuts. The damn things are everywhere and they’re not even good walnuts. Most of them are blackened or squishy green or otherwise looking liking anything but a nice normal walnut.

Apparently the wildlife doesn’t care.

Now, when I left Colorado where we regularly had bears, deer, bobcats, raccoons and more on our back porch. I thought I probably left all that behind when we moved here, but apparently I was wrong.

This weekend, we were sitting on the stoop outside watching the kitties lounging under the bushes and all of a sudden two raccoons popped over the fence, ran across the yard and under the deck!

I shrieked out of fear for the kitties. I scrambled to grab them and stuff them into the house. They were not pleased. The raccoons had, after all, run right by them and under the deck, so the danger was minimal.

We’ve seen the raccoons every night since – they’re looking for the walnuts.

Guess what they do to them? They do the same damn thing that these black birds do:

black birds

They crack them on our sidewalks. The birds crack them all day long and the raccoons take over cracking duty at night.

The birds work in teams although I’m not sure they’re very organized or polite about it. One bird will toss the walnut (crack!) and then the others on the ground – they could be considered snitching since they weren’t actually doing the flying and aiming part – jump in the detritus and pick through it for walnut pieces.

If the one flying around with the walnut misses the sidewalk, the other on the ground let you know how bad your aim was.

black birds

Then, they wander among the walnut shells and bitch about that for a bit and they fly off presumably to take their turn at picking up a walnut and aiming it.

black birds

This goes on ALL DAY LONG.

Then, of course, the raccoons pick up the cracking duties at night, but they’re on the back side of the house – right at our bedroom door. It’s really noisy. So, yesterday I mowed the lawn and took out the leaf rake and raked up all the walnuts, shells, bits of walnut junk, etc.

Last night I slept. The raccoons wandered around for awhile, but there was nothing left for them to crack on the sidewalks so it was quiet.



fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. Ell Lukasik
    August 26, 2013

    What a hoot!!! I love the birds’ routine. Glad you finally got some sleep.

  2. August 27, 2013

    Yeah boy did I need the rest. Sheesh!

  3. […] weekend, I was working in my office and the crows were doing their morning effort of walnut cracking. It’s really noisy but all of a sudden, a huge outburst from the crows in the neighborhood […]

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