I was snapping away at birds that came to the feeder when this crow used a branch to saunter past the lens. When you’re zoomed in really tight, the background can become dark and this made it look like the deepest darkest night had fallen.
I’ve learned a few things about crows.
1. A certain amount of the year, most of it actually, they live together in pairs or small groups.
2. They mate for life. (I think I’ve heard a few domestic disputes up in the treetops.)
3. They’re extremely smart. Some crows in California have been observed using cars for tools. They seem to know that putting walnuts down in the road during a red light is safe. They fly back and wait at a distance for the light to turn green and then watch and wait for a car to crack the nut for them. When they light is red and if the nut doesn’t have a car parked on it, they return and scoop up the exposed insides.
4. Crows hold a grudge. A study was done many years ago to see if crows remember faces. Wearing caveman masks, some individuals caught and banded some crows. When the crows were released, they scolded their captors with loud and threatening cries of outrage. Crows who had witnessed the whole event, swooped down to harass the evil humans.
A second group of humans wore different masks and moved about in the area during the whole capturing and banding process. The crows ignored this non-threatening group.
Crows were captured, banded and released only a view times, but for FIVE years after the event caveman mask wearing individuals were being attacked. Some of the crows doing the attacking weren’t even alive at the time of the original event!
5. Crows don’t just say “caw-caw.” They make clicking sounds and even clear bell like sounds. A week ago I heard the most unusual sounds and went investigating. There was one particular crow in a group of three,’ talking’, using all manner of sounds. Sometimes there would be long musical performances and at other times it sounded like a human baby! This went on for at least thirty minutes.
So the next time you see a crow, remember what an amazing creature it is and that it’s more than just a villain in a scary movie. (For those of you who have never seen Alfred HitchCock’s movie, “The Birds”, let’s just say you’ve been warned.)