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A Murder of Crows by GhostSniper

This year the crows are back, after having been gone for the past 2 years. I’m talking about the BIG ones. Maybe 16-18″ tall, walk around with their arms behind their backs (not unlike Groucho Marx) like they are assessing everything. And talkin’ that shit. Loudly. VERY loudly. Easily the loudest birds in the forest, drowning out even the pileateds.

They are alert, watching each other’s backs, and they will see you before you see them. They keep their distance from you, at least 50 feet or more. Get closer than that and they take flight. Fraidy cats.

Crows is curious creatures, maybe an indication of higher intelligence. Oops. Did I just infer they could be human? OMG, you know what that means!

All black. Body. Beak. Legs. Eyes. Black to the core. And picky assed eaters. The other birds anxiously eat from the smorgasbord that is delivered daily but the crows are better’n that, so they think. I’ve seen a crow pick up a sunflower seed and throw it back down in disgust then run it’s yap for a bit then come back and pick it up again and head of to a high limb somewhere to enjoy that tasty snack.

6am to 8am is their staying connected time around here. Fortunately we are early risers so we are not unduly bothered by their group tirades. I find them humorous and enjoy watching them from afar. If I stay perfectly still on the porch they get closer for better viewing and they are magnificent creatures.

They have a purpose. The crows do the jobs others don’t want to do. If a squirrel gets splattered on the road the crows are right there disposing of it. Nice. Then I don’t have to shovel scoop it up and dig a hole. They peck at it til it’s skin and bones, then the rest just magically disappears. Do they carry it into the woods? I’ve never seen a squirrel carcass in the woods. Do the crows eat the fur and bones? Don’t know.

As I said, the crows are the BIG variety. If they had a mind to, I imagine a group of 10 or more could most certainly take out a grown person. The beaks and claws look quite diabolical. At a full speed low angle dive I believe a 2″ black chisel beak would leave a deep permanent scar and maybe a trip to the ER. 10 of them punctures in rapid succession and you may succumb.

Then in a bit they will have picked you clean. And maybe we’ll find out what happens to the carcasses…..

Posted by ghostsniper at June 19, 2017 4:21 AM

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  • Snakepit Kansas July 28, 2017, 11:05 AM

    Crows give me away when moving through the field to a deer stand in the afternoon. They tend to hate and chase off owls. Otherwise I do not mind them.

  • MMinLamesa July 28, 2017, 12:48 PM

    We have huge crows in w Texas. Here, probably 4 or 5 determined ones could get cha.

  • Robert Jones July 28, 2017, 5:10 PM

    Some subsequent NOVA and Nature shows exhibit crows teaching their young about their experiences, as well as their ability to quantify things. For example, that they can carry x of something, they will lay out x, pick it up and fly away.
    Amazing birds, they can be taught to speak, like a parrot as well.

    I, for one, welcome our new avian overlords.

  • Eve. Of Destruction. July 28, 2017, 5:21 PM

    ” it’s skin and bones”

    Most taken by flies and maggots, the rest by other scavengers and insects.

  • Cletus Socrates July 28, 2017, 5:47 PM

    And a gaggle of goats are a “trip”.

  • Casey Klahn July 28, 2017, 6:08 PM

    I have to keep the crows separated from the ravens when I’m watching them. Sometimes you might think a crow is a raven, but never the other way round.

    Well done, Ghost. Those crows are skittish for a reason.

  • Bill Henry July 28, 2017, 10:16 PM

    I live on a farm. We have had (what appears to be because they seem to either teach or learn the same character traits over generations) a family of crows live in the elms in front of our home for over 20 years. They mock our dogs by barking at them. They will distract the dogs while other crows in the crew will steal dog food. Then they take turns stealing dog food. They seem to like it when the kids play in the yard. They will sit on limbs and watch my oldest boy throw baseballs at his L Screen and they go crazy when he hits balls off the baseball T …. Crows are my favorite wild creatures..
    Bill Henry

  • Alex Dumas July 28, 2017, 10:59 PM

    Lovely piece of writing Ghost!

  • Bill Henry July 30, 2017, 7:38 AM

    yes, it was very nice bit of writing ghost

  • itor July 30, 2017, 9:53 PM

    Been a lot around here lately too.
    Doin’ odd things though, even for crows
    watched one several days on, jumping up on the barn wall then coming back down again, and over and over, turns out
    it was hitting the wasp nests early in the morning, wasps not yet up to speed was able to get a bunch of them, for food.

    Other crows finding occupied nesting boxes, staking out in wait for a too eager nestling to stick its neck out, for the last time.

    In the midst of crow cacophony, our youngest is able to hit the right mimicry (or crow insults) such that the crows will become enraged, seeking out the invader.

    odd.

  • Casey Klahn July 31, 2017, 6:03 AM

    itor makes a point I was thinking, too. This Spring I found a Redtail Hawk that had been killed by crows (possibly ravens, but more likely crows). It’s a mistake to think that carrion eaters only scavenge; they are also predators.

  • ghostsniper July 31, 2017, 1:01 PM

    Speaking of crows and hawks, I mentioned this once before but I’ll say it again.
    Few years ago a Coopers hawk (larger than a red tail) swooped into the side yard at a crow that was walking on the ground, and landed on it’s back. The Cooper was pecking at the head of the crow and the crow took flight with that Cooper on it’s back. A low hanging spruce branch was jutting out from the forest into the yard and the crow flew just inches below the branch and knocked that Cooper off it’s back. Maybe 8 seconds elapsed from the time the Cooper landed on the crow until the branch dislodged it. The Cooper hit the ground and it took a second for it to gather it’s wits. Meanwhile that crow never looked back and kept climbing and banked off into the woods and disappeared.

    Now, was this an act of accidental luck or a calculated tactic by that crow?

  • Casey Klahn July 31, 2017, 5:25 PM

    Ghost, I think not only did the crow know exactly what to do, but if the low hanging branch hadn’t been there, he’d have pulled a switchblade from under his trench coat and sliced the hawk. Just kidding. yes, they do incredible things, and I was admiring how my cat outwitted the dog a while back by turning inside the dog’s radial limit at full speed.

    On a bird note, we were watching a juvenile robin in the front yard acting lost. Funny how we care for little ones like that.

  • Rob De Witt July 31, 2017, 6:20 PM

    Yeah, they’re smart, all right.

    And they have the morals and tactics of a street gang, murdering immature songbirds in their nest. I despise crows.

  • ghostsniper August 1, 2017, 4:16 AM

    @Casey, even the most loveable, docile family cat is still, at heart, a stone cold killer.
    Watch them convert into their formerly hidden self when they encounter a bug from across the room.
    They observe, then stalk, then attack, make strange noises, and guard their prize viciously.

    The dog is brute force, the cat is brute cunning.

  • bart simpsonson August 4, 2017, 4:15 PM

    Just an aside about crows. I have seen a monumental change in the behavior of crows during my lifetime (at 69) When I was a kid I remember riding down the highway, and when a vehicle approached the pole or wire they were sitting on, they would fly away, even though there was zero danger to them up there, and even if the powerline was 100 or more feet off the road. Nowadays you see them smashed by cars, or standing so close to the road and the roadkill that you could run over them yourself.