Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Wandering and pecking in my yard are three crows in their black shiny garb.My husband calls them crow dogs.He swears they are big enough to walk on a leash.One is on the birdbath and is the size of a football.This is the first year that I have noticed them although they squawk from the swamp once in awhile.
I do love the sound of their call.Robins suggest summer evenings under the maples on Long Island but crows sing of the valley in the Catskills where I went for summers as a child.
Of course, to the farmers, who were many when I was small,they were crop thieves and so the proverbial scarecrow would be erected with floppy hat and long arms to attempt to fool them.The men of the earth had great respect for their intelligence and swore that whatever they did to shoot them was futile.In one of the screens in the house where I summered was a hole the size of the barrel of a gun.A relative would sit and wait but never,no matter how quiet, could they fool these birds.
Recent research has found that they not only use tools but make them and can be taught to talk.Amazing.Their neostriatum,sub cortical part of the fore brain, is comparable in size to chimps and humans.There has been research done in how to train them to pick up trash and dispose of it.Hilarious!!!They also can tell one human from another by face recognition.They have been observed feeding their old and weakened parents.
When I was a child I saw a movie,"Babes in Toyland" and although I have no idea what the movie was about,I recall a terrifying scene where crows were walking around with lit matchsticks setting fires.Lassie,they were not.Does anyone remember that scene?
In 1993,Auburn ,New York was visited by between 25,000 and 50,000 crows and they must have liked it as they are still there.No one knows how to get rid of them or why they came.Sounds like a Tippi Hedren movie to me.
My favorite crow story is in the Buddhist tradition.The first Dali Lama was an infant when robbers attempted to break into the house of his family.The parents fled without the child but when they returned,the infant was being guarded by two crows and the house was undisturbed.
A crow is not a bird but a wonder.