Murder! ~Tanya Hanson

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.

watch bird

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…

Whatever. The obsession drove me to amateur photography. The following two pictures I took are now framed and enlarged and the decor in my bathroom. (Weird, I know…but I wanted black accents.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


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.

Lake Waterton 2

Disneyland’s Matterhorn:

Matterhorn birds

On my neighborhood walks:


bird in flight

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…)

Urban bird

And horse ranches. Yup,the pix below are the horse rescue where I volunteer. The horses never seem bothered by the din but sometimes a human could scream…More birds at the ranch

herd of birds at the ranch

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.

Neighborhood birds 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.

Coming soon:

OutlawinLove_w8481_300 (2)

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16 thoughts on “Murder! ~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Hi Tanya – Well, that’s something I never knew about you..your fascination with crows. Beautiful and eerie pics you have taken of those winged murders. Loved them.

  2. I’ve never had a fondness for crows. They can be so annoying because you never see just one. There’s a whole murder of them being so loud and messy. They sure can mess up a car. Have a good time in Hawaii. Wish I was there.

  3. Hi Charlene, yep, it’s a tad weird. I’m in Hawaii right now and haven’t seen a single one. Guess they can’t make it across the ocean. Thanks so much for posting. Xo

  4. Hi Linda, miss you too. I’m having a wonderful time but have a June deadline…guess I better keep my brain in gear. I know, the whole murders of crows are so annoying. So I stepped back and tried to capture some beauty LOL. Thanks for the post. Xo

  5. Tanya, I once stayed in a motel that had a huge flock of GRACKLES in the trees outside. CREEPY, really hundreds maybe thousands of them. Of course we didn’t dare walk under the trees but even avoiding that, it was weird.
    I’m sure it wasn’t the motels fault but I’ve never stayed in that particular chain again.
    It was just to spooky.

  6. LOL, Mary, I can actually imagine those Luganda of birds. It is creepy yet as a whole so many birds are cute little tweet -tweets. Thanks for the post. Ooh, A Murder of Crows is a terrific book title, er, three. Xo

  7. There’s a movie called “Murder of Crows” that stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Tom Berrenger. Cuba was a writer and he stole a manuscript from a dead man only the man wasn’t dead and he came for revenge. It was full of twists and turns.

  8. When I lived on the Rez, we had Crows everywhere. Now that I live in town, we have Ravens! They are huge. Thanks for the info, though. Wish I’d thought about looking it up back then.

  9. Growing up, I lived near several apple orchards. There was, and probably still is, a problem with crows. They peck at the fruit, often taking just one bite, but that is enough to ruin it for market. When there is a large murder, the damage can be extensive. They used (and still do) a chemical drip that creates a bang like a gun shot every 30 minutes or so. It scares them off, but not for long.
    They are very intelligent birds. Studies have been done and if I remember correctly, they have facial recognition abilities. Wish I were home so I could find the article.
    Thanks for an interesting post and pictures.

  10. They gather by our cabin and scare the songbirds from our feeders, but I have a new appreciation for them now. Great post!

  11. Hi Sandra thanks so much for the post. They are aggressive suckers to be sure. I finally took my bird feeder down…sad for the dovies and sparrows, but the crow population has lessened…I think they moved on to another street lol.

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