Monday, September 19, 2011

Counting Crows

There's a crow dying in my backyard.

I saw him yesterday standing for a really long time in the waterfall of our small pond. His back was to me and he was clearly not "on alert" as crows usually are. He didn't make a sound. But he did take a few sips of water.

Later, I saw him sitting on the grass by the fading Rose of Sharon. He sat very, very still. I had been in the back garden all day yesterday. The sun was glorious and mum and I decided to read outside. I took the NY Times outside and piled it under my lawnchair. I had to go inside mid afternoon to start Sunday dinner. Yes, I cooked! During football season, I make Sunday dinner because Bill is at the Bill's game.

When I came back outside, the pages had scattered across the lawn. I was afraid to go and pick them up because the crow was sitting close by (the travel section). Tentatively, I tip-toed towards the newspaper and picked up the pieces that were a 'safe' distance from the crow. He didn't flinch.

Crows are fascinating. Fascinating and creepy at the same time. You can feel their intelligence when they look right at you. And, I remember from Biology class that they are considered to be one of the more advanced creatures - brain wise. Particularly because they have a complex social system.

Where I work, there is a line of deciduous and evergreen trees that separates the parking lot from the backyard of a Oakland Street neighbor. At dusk, the crows in the neighborhood all congregate in those trees and have a large conference. I think about them a lot. I see them converge just before I pack up my things to go home and hear them talking when I get into my car. Whatever they're saying to each other, I'm sure it's very important because this conference is repeated night after night.

Anyway, the old, dying crow in my backyard is probably really smart. I think he picked my backyard for his demise because of the new plants I just put in. It's colorful, cheery and  inviting  -  clearly a lovely place to take your last breaths.

I hope he's still there when I get home tonight. 


  1. The collective plural is "a murder of crows".

  2. Update - the crow was there when I got home. But,he had passed away.

  3. Alas, poor crow. Is it still a thing to take dead crows to the Health Dept. to screen for West Nile?