Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Murder of Crows

No...crows were not killed. "Murder" is the term used to describe a group of crows.
And let me add that I do love the birds that many consider a nuisance - in fact the word "crow" is part of my magic-name. Birds of the crow family include ravens and jack-daws (found in Europe) and are considered one of  the most intelligent species of bird.

My father told of seeing a large group (murder) of crows early one morning on a deserted golf course. There was a circle of crows on the ground and many black dots sitting in the surrounding trees. There was one crow in the middle of the circle. Every so often, a crow would leave the circle and go peck at the crow in the middle. Pop had the distinct impression that the circle was handing out judgment to the one in the middle.

After hearing a flurry of cawing, I opened the blinds over my patio doors this morning to see an unusual site for our apartment complex: scores of crows flying around and even more perched in a nearby tree. I watched in fascination as several would swoop down in front of me and then fly toward the tree and take their seat. Two walked along the sidewalk in front of my apartment and cocked their heads, their dark shiny eyes visible in the morning light. Finally I said, "I can't join you in the tree. You see, I can't fly."
In two beats both crows had flown, but only after circling around the fence in front of my patio door.

Did they recognize a fellow-crow in human form or were they just acting like birds?
Guess which one I believe?


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