Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The crow funeral

Last night I got home, grabbed my book and the dog, and hotfooted it outside to the Adirondack chairs to relax a little before making dinner. But before long, I started to hear cawing - a lot of cawing. I looked up and saw at least 20 crows circling to the west, a couple houses over.

So I walked out to the street and down a little, and there were no fewer than 50 crows, all flying around these two enormous cedar trees, jockeying for position and making a racket. One of my neighbors came walking down to see what the ruckus was, and he told me the only other time he'd seen crows behave like that, there were 100 of them, all sitting along the wires from the power poles, and there was one dead crow.

"So it's a crow funeral," I said, transfixed. It made my day, knowing that the crows mourn their loved ones, even if they're loud and harsh. They are a brutal bird but they have such huge character.

He didn't seem to take it in the same spirit I did. He walked toward the trees, clapping and yelling until the birds went away.


Blogger Kim said...

Maybe it's like a crow wake...? All drunk and yelling a bit!

10:38 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Something about this is really cool

9:07 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Kim! Funny. I bet that's what they were doing.

And thank you, E. I hated that my neighbor broke it up. It felt so otherworldly, and it didn't feel like we had a right to intrude.

Now, had they kept going past dark, sure. But it was half an hour, maybe less - for something that was so near-magical. Just because we have opposable thumbs and loud yelly voices, we feel like we own the planet.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Cherry Red said...

That's really touching. I love learning something like that about animals. Particulary an animal like a crow that you normally hear bad things about.

I saw a nature show once about elephants. When a member of an elephant family died, they walked in circles around it, each touching (almost carressing) the dead elephant with its trunk. They were so somber and it made me cry.

Thanks for sharing that.


OT: what's up with Blogger? Neither of my blogs will let me post. The posts show when I go to edit posts, but they are not on the Blogs themselves. Weird.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Toni said...

I've got a great book called "Bird Brains" that's all about the corvid family, which includes crows and bluejays. Turns out they're incredibly smart. It's beautifully photographed, too. Candace Savage is the author, iirc.

10:06 AM  

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