I’m obsessed with murder.
Yes, a murder of crows. THE murder of crows that caws its way around my neighborhood.
My obsession might have started some years ago when I came home from school and saw about fifty of them strutting and posing on my roof–the same day, of course, that my students and I had covered “The Raven” in American Lit class.
Or…maybe because the endless “caw-caw-caw” at six in the morning prompted the cul-de-sac’s interest in hiring a professional falconer to rent out his raptors for a few days to scare the crows away. (Never transpired.)
Or because the murder scared away our cute little neighborhood squirrel…
Anyway, I am not alone. These large, intelligent, very social birds are EVERYWHERE on our continent despite being called American Crow.
I found them in Alberta Canada, below, in Lake Waterton.
On my neighborhood walks:
Here, there, and everywhere.
Their habitats range from forest and woodlands, farms and beaches, suburban neighborhoods. Even landfills and town centers.
(The guy below, that’s somewhere in San Francisco…)
They peck around the ground, gutters and lawns and eat just about anything–earthworms, carrion, worms and small animals. Even baby birds swiped from nests!
Aggressive, inquisitive and mischievous, crows can form flocks in the millions. They learn quickly and can solve problems. They’ll even chase away larger birds like owls and herons and hawks.
And they are beautiful in flight.
The American Crow is all black, even legs and beak. And while similar to The Raven, ravens are larger with longer wings and heavier beaks. While the crow’s tail is shorter and squarer, the raven’s tail is tapered and wedge-shaped.
Crows in the West are smaller than the ones in the East, yet crows in Florida are small with big feet.
Herds of crows have been called “murders” since the 14th Century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Maybe because a horde of them caw-ing sounds like bloody murder.
Or one legend says a group of crows will kill a dying one.
Who knows? But now that this blog is done, I can stop taking pictures.
Quote the crow, never again.