Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24: Crows Chasing Things

Wherein my fascination with crows continues... Early this morning I drove to Augusta to co-lead a bird walk at the Viles (formerly Pine Tree State) Arboretum in Augusta as part of the Friends of Baxter State Park's annual meeting. On the 45-minute drive, I saw a tom turkey in full display on top of a hill in Union. I wished him luck. I also watched a crow in hot pursuit of a mourning dove. As I drove along, it chased the petrified dove across three lawns. I couldn't figure out what was going on there.

At the Arboretum I enjoyed a brief but lovely walk on a warm, sunny Spring morning with a nice group of people. Tree swallows swarmed the bird box area behind the Arboretum offices, filling the air with their liquid songs. Love was in the air. Literally. Each box sported a pair of birds. I flushed a hen turkey near the rock garden. Ruby-crowned kinglets sang their surprisingly loud and complicated songs. We had close-up views of an obliging pine warbler, whose yellow head and throat caught the light. For the first time this spring I saw and/or heard five species of sparrow: chipping, Savannah, song, white-throated, and swamp. A Virginia rail responded to a recording by calling back from amid the cattails. I watched a pair of crows sweetly preening each other. Later, I observed two crows (the same ones?) dive-bombing a vulture, a much larger bird. A good morning.

On my drive home at day's end, I spotted a harrier dipping low over a field... being harangued by a persistent crow. At least crows seem to be democratic about what they chase. Drive away anything that is not a crow seems to be the rule. I wanted to capture that inclusiveness in today's poem. It might not seem very interesting, but it's just subtle. Like a crow.

Crow chases a dove,
crow chases a harrier,
crows chase a vulture.

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