Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23: Crow Chorus

Crows. I see them every day and they're always up to something. I could write a whole blog just about crows. Last night as dusk was creeping in around the edges of the trees, a murder of crows was clamoring and hollering up on Mount Battie. With my binoculars I could see birds flying just above the interlaced branches of the pine trees on the craggy mountainside. Crows swirled around, back and forth, in a caw-caw-caw cacophony. A couple of crows flew out from behind my house as if interested in joining them. They must have heard enough to figure out what all the fuss was about and decided it didn't suit them, because they soon turned back around. But the neighborhood crows are obviously homebodies, because it seemed like every other crow in town was up on the mountain yelling.

For some reason I don't think they were harassing another bird. Often the presence of an owl or hawk will provoke that type of gang response, but their flight patterns didn't seem directed at something perched in one spot or flying. A few vultures were soaring near them, so maybe it was as simple as the discovery of something large and dead in the woods up there. But I had the feeling that maybe they had found a fox wandering around and were following it. A friend who lives at the base of the mountain said she's seen them do that there. I'll never know for sure, but I certainly enjoyed puzzling over this latest crow mystery as I stood on my front step in the waning light. Ongoing eruptions of caws continued from the rocky slope of Mount Battie long after I went inside. Even my old cat seemed to pick up on it, pricking her ears. I wonder if the sound triggered some primal instinct in her, if crows used to chase wild cats through the woods in ancient times, dogging them like they do foxes.

Crow cacophany--
something's happening up there.
It's always something.

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