Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 17: Mob Scene, Part Two

A tree full of crows caught my eye this morning. While driving through Rockport on Route One, I noticed a big bunch of crows--technically, a murder of crows--scattered through the roadside woods. So I could see what all the fuss was about without causing an accident, I quickly and prudently pulled over for a closer look. I was able to walk a short way off the road into the trees, where I soon realized that there were more crows than I had originally thought. As best as I could count, 40 or more crows had gathered in this one little area, some flying from tree to tree, some "barking," as crows do, others just hunkered down on a branch waiting for something to happen. None of them seemed frantic or alarmed. A large building blocked my full view of the woods, so short of climbing a tree for a crow's eye view, I can only imagine what they were all up to. All I know is that crows are always up to something. Which is why I love observing their comings and goings in my back yard and around my office. Well, that, and the fact that some days they are the only birds I see.

Owl courtship season has begun. These crows were not far from Merryspring Nature Park, where barred owls are often seen. So perhaps a few crows had found a hapless sleeping owl, sounded the alarm, and now they were all hanging out waiting to see who was going to make the first move. Or maybe they'd already harangued the owl enough to make it fly away, and now they were just rehashing yet one more cool victory over an evil raptor. Only the crows knew what was going on there, and they weren't telling in a language I could understand. O to fathom the mysteries of another species!

Of course, we can't even fathom the mysteries of our own species. But that's another story altogether.

An owl's daytime dreams
must be full of caws, black wings--
but does it notice?

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