Biker birds

crow collageI’m trying to figure out why I’m so fascinated by crows. Maybe it’s because they seem so aware of what’s going on around them. The smaller song birds appear self-absorbed, focused only on food and survival, while the crows take time to look around, think, play games — and even play tricks. They’re not so predictable, which makes them more interesting to watch. They are, after all, cousin to that mythical trickster, Raven

The fact that some people don’t like crows, perhaps also adds to their appeal. I remember a time when I was a kid and visiting a cousin whose dad, my uncle, was kind of scary. He was threatening to shoot some crows he considered pests, and I stood up in defence of the crows despite being intimidated by him.

Recently, a friend confided to me that she finds crows unnerving. They eat road kill and stand on the road when you’re driving toward them, almost daring you to keep coming. You don’t want to swerve and cause an accident, but they don’t fly away until the absolute last minute, giving you a dirty look as they go.

Crows are the bikers of the bird world. They wear the feather equivalent of black leather. They’re in your face — even rude. They hang out in gangs. They attack other birds (ravens, hawks, owls)  who fly into their territory. I’ve also seen individual crows attack people (usually when protecting their nests).

When my dad was about 14, he stole a baby crow out of its nest (he wanted to keep it as a pet and see if he could teach it to talk). One of the adult crows must have seen what happened. Every time my dad came out of the house after that, an angry crow would kaw and fly at his head. For years, the crow continued to pester my dad. The crow even knew when my dad got off work and would be waiting for him. Pretty smart.

Perhaps crows are fascinating because they are so much like us and, at the same time, they are totally alien. Any thoughts on this?

2 Responses to “Biker birds”

  1. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    By the way, it’s been pointed out to me that “kaw” should actually be spelled “caw,” but the taller “k” seems to give a better sense of the sound to me.

  2. Eye holiday reading « wild ink Says:

    […] Biker birds (why people love or hate crows) […]

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