Friday, April 12, 2019

On Crows

Outside my mini-office window a pair of crows are nesting. I'll have to buy peanuts for them. They are birds I've long admired for their intelligence and myriad ways of communicating. If you enbiggen you can see the crow awaiting her tour of duty on the eggs on the wire on the left.

It is said they have the intelligence of a 7 year old human.

In the past I've watched them negotiate traffic lights and, imitating seagulls, drop crustaceans from a great height in order to smash them.

And I had an extraordinary experience once where about 5 km from my home I killed a crow in my car. I felt awful, pulled over to the side of the road, looked at the lovely rainbow-on-black wings and was glad it was dead because if it was in pain I don't know what I would have done.

The following morning I woke up to this terrible cawing and screeching and looked out my bedroom window to see all these crows congregated on the trees in my garden. I went outside in my pajamas and I was close to tears. I told them I was sorry. And begged forgiveness. And as sure as I'm typing this, they settled down but continued to glare at me. They knew my car, they knew where I lived. It truly freaked me out. I remember Ansa looking up at them and literally skulking back into the house. The shame of her companion murdering a crow and now having a murder of crows circling our house. I have no doubt she knew what they were saying as she had been a witness in my car to the dastardly act.

In honour of their cleverness, I love this National Geographic snippet of crows trained to pick up and dispose of garbage.



And I'll leave you with this witty cartoon:


31 comments:

  1. A murder of crows! Oh I love those collective nouns. You made good use of it here. Your story was scary. Reminding of Hitchcocks "The Birds"

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    1. Me too Uglemor. I was quite intimidated and in awe at the same time. I feel my name is etched somewhere on a tree for them to commemorate their dead friend.

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  2. I adore the corvid family. Beautiful, intelligent, family minded birds.
    And feel your pain at killing one. And being followed home by the extended family...

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    1. I, too, love them in all their cleverness and beauty. They are quite easy to "tame" as well. I remember a whole bunch of them another time up in my trees at my former home watching two tom cats brawl on the ground and conversing with each other about the "show". It was hilarious.

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  3. No, surely you are having us on? Were they warning you off, do you think, or just mourning the death of one of their own by invading the space of the perpetrator?

    We have mainly rooks, who congregate in large numbers in the ancient beech in the field and every evening in summer do a huge fly-past from one side of the valley to the other, possibly showing their young how it’s done. I am not quite so fond of them when they try to nest in a tree in the garden, they make such an awful racket.

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    1. Not at all Friko, this actually happened, it still haunts me. Granted I was living in a remotely populated rural coastal community but they tracked me down alright and apparently they can distinguish cars and faces.

      I'd love to see that fly past!

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  4. Interesting about the crows finding you. I haven't heard of anything like that before, but I believe you. I suppose it is easy to find on Youtube, the clip of crows in Japan dropping nuts on the road so that cars run over them and the nuts are open and the meat easy to get to.

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    1. I remember also after this happened an article written by a reporter who watched a "murder" of crows grieve a dead fallen crow on a busy sidewalk. They are more sentient than we realize I think.

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  5. Crows have always given me an eerie feeling. We have four in the neighborhood now, just arriving a couple of weeks ago. They are huge.

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    1. Many predict death when they converge. My granny believed that and was always proven in her village. Interesting.

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  6. I am reading a book about ravens you might like. Ravens are much larger than crows and very smart. "Ravenmaster" by Christopher Skaife, who cares for the 7 ravens who live at the Tower of London. Fascinating.

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    1. I think I would enjoy that Terra, they are easily trained and bring gifts to their tamers spontaneously. Usually stolen jewellery or glittery objects.

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  7. I love the cartoon and I love crows. There are a few living in trees near me, I hear them but can rarely see them, they hide within the leaves. I always say hello to them.

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    1. Yes my two are fairly hidden in the fork of a tree and must leave some scraps on the ground from their nest as gulls circle around the tree after they bring home some forage.

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  8. I never used to like crows but I'm starting to appreciate them. I live in fear of killing some thing with a car and the guilt would be compounded if the mob followed me home.
    You tell the story beautifully

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    1. I felt terrible for a while and mentally apologize to each crow that I see in my path today. I have shared this story many times and others have had similar experiences, one time a duck hunter friend found a duck staring at him before he shot him and it had such a profound effect he never went hunting again. He just takes pics today.

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  9. Hmmm, I didn't know ... I guess crows are underappreciated.

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    1. Definitely Tom. All birds I believe. I remember an angry solo swan chasing people away from his cygnets as he'd been left a widower and even the city workers wouldn't go near the pond because of the racket and injuries they could sustain. He was telling them, boy.

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  10. I love crows too and there is one old geezer who comes every morning to visit and say hello to me just as I sit down with my mug of tea in the verandah. He has been doing this for the past many years and I simply have to acknowledge his greeting and he flies away, after satisfying himself that I am alive, I suppose.

    In Indian tradition, the crow occupies a special place. I personally don't practice but, know many others who do.

    https://www.indianmirror.com/culture/indian-folklore/Feeding-Crows.html

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    1. Oh that's beautiful Ramana, I honestly believe that animals and birds try to communicate with us. I had a pair of cardinals come every year to me in Toronto and would circle my house in the Spring and then sit on the railing staring in at me saying "hey we're back, some grub please!"

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    1. It still haunts me Gigi. An extraordinary experience.

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  12. That must have been quite unnerving, WWW! I'm not surprised though, crows are known to be some of the most intelligent of our winged friends. I especially like their close relative the Blue Jay. We have regular visits from one or two of these pretty creatures - shame about their crackly voices! We do, very occasionally, find our backyard filled with black winged ones, picking among the grass - never sure if they are blackbirds, or crows though.

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    1. Their wings are a little different and their heads but I'm not a bird expert tho I do follow bird-watching sites on FB. I had many blue jays around the bay, greedy noisy creatures but so beautifully coloured. The juncos would just stand around back, the crows were always last. I loved how orderly it was.

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  13. We had so many kinds of birds at the old house, and grew familiar with individual idiosyncrasies. Because we live essentially in a national park, we have so many large native birds not familiar in residential areas. I once braked hard, hard, recklessly to avoid a red tailed hawk. I clipped the edge of his wing, and then the "stagger" flew on into the woods. It has been years since I did it, and still see it happening. It's the last animal of any sort I've hurt, and that's a real tribute to me watching out for squirrels and chipmunks, too.

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  14. Some of them are nearly tame when they are fed regularly. It must have been quite lovely where you lived with wildlife given a sporting chance.

    It is quite awful when a creature is hit, I did run over a yearling moose once but it was fine, got to its feet and raced off into the woods, I pulled over and sat and shook for 10 minutes. Terrible feeling.

    I don't think I'll ever understand hunters and there are so many here, not for sport but for food. But still.....

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  15. Once I took my dog for a walk in a park where two adult crows were teaching their youngster to fly. The young crow was on the ground. My dog was minding his own business but the adult crows were not happy that he was so close by and they totally terrorized him by divebombing over and over until he ran out of the park. Had a hard time getting him to ever return to that park. Local skunks were tearing up people's lawns to get at buried bug larvae. The crows watched them and then started doing it themselves. Was quite funny, if it wasn't your lawn they dug up.

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  16. Wow, adding to crow tales, Annie. I remember a crow dive bombing me on the trail near my house in Toronto on Spring morning runs.I would just hop onto the sidewalk abutting the path and then rejoin it. Someone had told me they could pierce your skull if you got close to their nests. Scary thought indeed.

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  17. I think I would feel just as bad if I killed a crow. Some people might shrug their shoulders and say "it was only a crow" but it was a living creature and deserved a longer life.

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    1. And that pile of crows felt bad and grieved. Destroying such beauty is heartbreaking.

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  18. That's a better story than Hitchcock's "The Birds" which I found to be a disappointing movie -- and your experience is real.

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