There was a crow here the other day. I’m used to the cardinals and the starlings and the wrens and the sparrows and even the blue jays coming to the living room window and looking in, expecting snacks. I was not ready for this galumphing black bird to, basically, fall out of the sky and land on the window ledge with a thump. He, or she, seemed to move in slow motion, which made sense, being at least three times the size of any other bird in sight, and not especially agile.
After a moment of confusion (those hard landings are jarring when you’re not prepared), the crow lifted its wings, and in slow motion again, galumphed off to somewhere else, out of my view.
I always think of birds, and flying in general, as inherently graceful. I think if them catching the wind and stretching their wings like ballerinas. But the crow was nothing like that. It was awkward, and slow, and sort of human. I felt a kinship with it, because that’s probably how I would fly, if I could fly.
I haven’t seen the crow again, which makes me even more curious about that strange visit. Of course I had to google crows. One fun fact, crows have very good memories for human faces, and can really hold grudges. If one particular human does a crow wrong, the crow will share the story with all of his friends, and the whole community will hold the grudge, and recognize that particular human face forever.
It’s as if crows invented Twitter.
One of the articles I read explained that a group of crows is called a Murder because if one crow dies, the rest will come together to figure out who or what killed their friend. They’re like the detectives of the bird world! I’d like to think that my visiting crow was out on an investigation. Maybe he thought I was harboring a criminal on my window ledge (probably one of the blue jays. Those guys are assholes).
I just wish the crow would come back to visit. I could offer him some tea, and maybe a ginger snap or two, and he could sit down and to tell me how the mystery ends.
Cricket is waiting impatiently. For the cookies.
I have always liked crows. In all the baby birds I have raised I have never had a baby crow. I know there are some, just never saw any. Crows are very smart, as you noted. They can figure things out.
Now I have to look for baby crow pictures!
I have one Rachel, taken in June 2015, and I did a post recently
The adults are definitely sitting on eggs in the nest, but obviously we have no idea how many as it’s too high for us mere mortals!
Cricket–cookies are for when the guest arrives. It might be a while…..
Crows have been found lately to be very intelligent problem solvers
I’ll need to make an appointment with one of those crows…
Perhaps they signify you are a problem solver…they also strategize well!
I so look forward to your writing Rachel 😊. Sounds like you’ve made a new friend. Hope you and your mom and Cricket are all doing well. Take care ❤️
I was eating out back and I had a crow steal a pizza crust off my plate, while I slipped inside for a moment. It was a very hard crust, but when I came back out, I saw the crow dunking it in the water on the ground to soften it up. He flew away with it when I came out. I hope your crow comes back to visit.
Cricket would be thrilled to share pizza crusts with a crow!
I have found that crows often travel in groups of three. (They like to sing in a syncopated rhythm together.) Maybe next time your crow will bring two friends!
That would be awesome!
you have a crow. what does it mean that I have a mourning dove nesting above my patio door. Ir might be a different one than the mama bird teaching a little one to fly.
We have mourning dove’s surrounding our front door, because our neighbor has a birdfeeder. These are really, really fat birds.
I always think crows are rather ominous birds. I am right. A murder of crows! – wowee!
Here in Sydney, I often see Australian Ravens, which I’m sure are a type of crow, for they look just like the bird in the photo you’ve used. They sure are large compared to some species we have. On the other hand, we have Laughing Kookaburras around, which are also large.
Now I have this image in my mind of the Laughing Kookaburras facing off with the Australian Ravens, like a scene from West Side Story.
We have crows all around us – and rooks – and I can’t really tell the difference
Clearly Crows are smarter than humans. I can’t tell one bird from another and they know exactly who I am.
There are numerous crows around here. They nest in the tall poplars, and can often make a racket. I like the way they walk about, as if they can’t stand properly. They are useful for clearing away roadkill, and dead animals in hedgerows, and when a bird of prey gets near their nests, they will gang up bravely, and chase it off. Despite that, local farmers kill hundreds of them with shotguns, supposedly concerned about damage to crops, or them taking baby pheasants from local hatcheries. I think it’s just because some men like to kill things.
Best wishes, Pete.
That’s so sad.
I think crows are amazing. I’ve watched documentaries about them using tools to open nuts like has been shown in the great apes and well…us. Thank you for writing this. We have to be careful of the word cookie at our house!
Ha! Cricket has so many favorite words that we end up spelling and using sign language and trying to come up with bird song to use as codes.
I’m not a crow but I can go thud when flying. If I’ve been in my cage for a while and then given the house in which to fly, I crash into walls. After a little bit, I regain my skill and am fine.
That’s how I am with walking.
I once had a very loud crow in my backyard for days who would sqwalk when ever I came out. Besides being smart they are also very territorial and apparently this crow claimed my yard and trees as his. I tried to chase him away with rocks but he knew I was a poor shot and just flew from tree to tree squalling and mocking me. I finally started clapping my hands very loudly over and over which really got his ire, he beganflying in circles over my yard the whole time sqwalking. Within minutes there were 7 or 8 other crows circling with him all sqwalking at me. I retreated to the house in defeat….
Eventually they pitied me and left my yard to terrorize some one else. 😬
We have a murder, I suppose, of seven of the beasts that roam our neighborhood. When we moved to our house my son was two. He pointed to the crows and asked what they were. For whatever reason, my wife said “Those are our friends, the crows.” He’s eleven now and he still refers them as “Our friends, the crows.”
That’s so sweet!
I’m looking at crows differently now. Thanks!
Thats really interesting and i love the word galumphing. Years ago I went to a park with my then dog Sally and she ran over to an injured crow. The other crows were keeping an eye on it and they saw Sally off. For a long time after when we would walk in the same park, the crows would sweep down on Sally even though she hadnt been the one to injure it. They definitely remember.
Oh no! Poor Sally! Clearly she was just trying to help, or sniff something very interesting.
You realize that I have to come to the blue jay’s defense. Jays and crows are very close cousins in the bird world. I like your description of the crow’s landing. Blue jay landings are very similar.
Ha! No offense meant. We’ve had a bunch of Blue Jays around here, and they tend to be the bullies of the neighborhood, pushing smaller birds off the window ledge and just generally swooping around like the cool kids.
Crows are fun and interesting and so is your post. I don’t mean to ‘crow about it’ but crows seem to pop up in many cultures. In North America we have sayings like; ‘eat crow’, ‘crows feet’, ‘as the crow flies’, ‘counting crows’, ‘sing like a crow’. Ok, I made that last one up.
I wonder where our obsession with the crows comes from. It really is a fun word to say, for some reason.
I have always loved crows. They are so unapologetically raucous. Probably I wish I could be like that instead of behaving more appropriately in aggravating situations. They congregate by the hundreds south of here and it is wonderful to see them flying in from all directions as dusk approaches.
I love the teamwork of crows. They really do help each other and back each other up.
And boy they seem to have a lot to talk about when they get together! Funny, in Portland, Oregon they are getting complaints from hotel guests about the noise of crows in the morning.
Can you imagine if all of the Twitter comments in the world were said out loud? I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening with the crows. Someone needs to introduce them to social media.
That is a brilliant observation.
Crows are quite special in their cleverness. You should read “The Genius of Birds”, although I haven’t read it myself. But coming from an ornithology example, I’ve heard and read a lot of different examples, all of which I think are fascinating for laypeople to know. I wonder if your crow had had a fight or some kind of accident, maybe escaping an outdoor cat, and fell out of the sky like that. Interesting.
There’s so much more to this story, and it’s killing me that I don’t know what it is.
Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence
by Nathan J. Emery and The Genius of Birds
by Jennifer Ackerman are both on my to-read list!
Did he say “Nevermore?”
(I know that’s a raven, but I couldn’t resist.)
If it’s Crows you’re after, come to South Australia. We have them in abundance.
She i first saw ravens, ind scribed them as crows as big as chickens. Could it have been a raven? They are said to take messages between the living and dead.
Wow! I have some messages I’d like to send to my Grandpa.
Or even Butterfly.
Sorry for my poor typing. I was commuting on the bus, and it sure is bumpy!
I feel like Butterfly is still here. I know that’s crazy, but she feels so close by.
I get it.
Once where we used to live we saw a whole bunch of crows flocking around a neighbor’s horse water trough (which was an old bathtub). Eventually the neighbor went out and tipped the tub until water spilled out – pouring a crow out along with it. The crow was probably exhausted from trying to get out because it stayed still in the pasture long enough we wondered if it was dead before it finally flew away. After that whenever that neighbor walked up or down his rather long driveway a crow followed along hopping from tree to tree behind him. So apparently they remember people who rescue them too.
Such an interesting blog!
Fascinating take on crows. Truth to tell, they make me shiver with discomfort whenever I see them. We have a lot in the woods behind our house. I always lower my head and look away when come around.
That probably limits their facial recognition abilities, good idea.
Wow, looks interesting. We really appreciate your stories 💕
The crows are exceptionally intelligent birds…the bird world is indeed fascinating. Loved your ponderings about the crow.
I just had a crow land in our yard and grab a peanut. He went up on our neighbor’s roof to eat it. A crow friend landed next to him and cawed. But when he cawed he opened his wings a bit. It was interesting. I was hoping they would come get another nut, but they flew off.
Did they share, or was it a food fight?
One came into our yard and got a nut. She (?) took it up to our neighbor’s roof to eat it. The other one just landed next to her. He sat there and cawed. When he cawed he kind of shrugged his shoulders and lifted his wings just a bit. The one with the nut eventually flew away. The shrugger cawed a couple of more times then flew away. I was hoping the shrugger would come get a nut.
This is hilarious!
So if you offered the crow tea and he recognized your face and told all his friends, you’d have a murder on your window ledge.
I hate it when they galumph. So annoying. 🙂
I love crows! Such clever birds! They can be funny to observe; a pair of them used to tease my old dog Poppy..but when she was a puppy…by sitting just on the other side of the fence. I was recently reading a fun natural history book “In the Company of Crows and Ravens” hat particularly emphasized the relationship between humans and crows.
Well, it won’t let me press a simple “like” button, so you’re getting the text. Thanks for the smile this morning, as I have a blue jay making my life miserable (and I hope he doesn’t tell all his friends).
Ha! I’m sorry WordPress is being annoying about the like button.
What an interesting story! And I did not know the reason behind the term ”murder” of crows. I have written several posts on crows and find them to be very intelligent and social.
Yes, crows seem to be the most intelligent birds, parrots possibly excepted. In Japan, they were taking nuts they couldn’t crack, but worked out how a light-controlled pedestrian crossing could do the trick. Wait till traffic stops for pedestrians to cross. Put nuts on crossing. Retreat. Vehicles go over and crack the nuts. When the lights next change – swoop in and grab the food.
Many members of the crow family – in Europe, especially Jackdaws and Ravens – seem to enjoy playing about in flight. Where I live there is a Jackdaw colony and when a really noisy, serious catfight happened (a fight between cats, not a sexist term for two women fighting), about forty Jackdaws lined up on the rooftops to watch, themselves jumping up and down and making as much noise as the cats.