Friday, May 23, 2014

the case for crows. or why i love feathered apes

posted by jennifer:

at a dinner party last week....
  dinner party, that sounds very outdated.  and does not sound natural coming from my mouth.... or fingertips as the case may be.

while having dinner with friends last week, one of the women there was sharing her dislike of crows.  namely the ones that are always fouling up her solar powered bird bath.  and by the way, how does a solar powered bird bath work?  yeah,  i know it is powered by the sun, but why would your bird bath need power?  i should have asked her.  but at that point i was distracted by thinking of what to say to her in defense of the crows.

i know that she is not alone in her feelings.  but really, what do you expect when the group name of crows is murder.   a murder of crows.   hmmm.  i wonder what the crows would have to say about that?    and what about in a movie.  when you hear a crow calling you just know that it is not going to be all sunshine and rainbows in the next scene.

but really, they are amazing creatures.  

did you know that when a crow dies or is killed, all the crows in the area will fly to a tree together. they will have a few minutes of silence.  and then they will silently fly away from the tree at the same time? a kind of crow wake.   how cool is that?

and crows can remember faces.  and they teach their young to be on alert for those people who pose a threat to them.  not all people.  just the ones who the adult crows have been threatened by.  

crows can make and use tools.  the only other animals known to make tools are ape and humans.  hence the name feathered apes or primates.

crows have a very strong family unit.  the fledglings will stay with their parents for up to five years.   and the extended family sometimes helps out in the unit.

i heard a very neat thing from another woman at the dinner i was at.  she was telling us about an article she had read in sun magazine years back.  i couldn't find the article to read it myself, but the gist of it is:
  a couple of men were out hiking.  they saw an owl being heckled by some crows. (owls and 
  crows as well as hawks and crows don't really jive.   they are as was quoted to me "mortal
  enemies")  anyway, the crows won this battle apparently because when the hikers came to 
  a canyon,  they came upon the crows gathering small rocks, feathers, sticks and such, they
  were laying them in front of the dead owl.  i mean i guess it is a little sad.  i do like owls, but 
  crows are killed by owls as well.  and i am guessing the owls don't build a shrine.

and i guess i also have a soft spot in my heart for crows because when growing up, we helped raise two fledgling crows.  young crows that were on their own.....

 and by the way, i love that my mom was always okay with us bringing home birds to raise.  poor little things that had fallen out of a nest or some such bad fortune.   i mean she always seem okay with it outwardly.  i am sure that when we came home with a bird with no feathers... with eyes sealed shut... she must have groaned loudly inside.  but i really never remember her telling us to take that thing outside.  instead it was helping us make our special bird food.  bread softened with milk.  and helping us find the tweezers to feed the pathetic things.

but the crows.  they lived with us.  hop-a-long.... who wait for it... had a bad leg.  and blue eyes.  guess what color his eyes were?   no, not brown.   blue!   even after they were old enough to be on their own, they would come back to visit us.   blue eyes would caw for food by the back door.  well after the time he was already gathering his own food.  and we saw hop-a-long at the park for months and months after he was out on his own.  we always recognized him with his curled up foot.  
i guess that is the real reason i smile when i see crows in the yard.  and this year the crows beat out the hawks for rights at our oak tree for nesting.  i get to watch daily as they try to make it in a world where they are being scolded for  trying to clean their food  before they eat it..... especially if their sink is a solar powered bird bath.

here's to the crows.


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