Monday, June 07, 2021

The Crow Whisperer

I saw the first few paragraphs as a teaser of an article in Harper's, The Crow Whisperer by Lauren Markham. It concerned this couple that felt under siege by crows, with their dog being an especial target. The poor hound was being mobbed whenever he went outside.  A neighbor reported that she thought she had seen the dog with a fledgling in its mouth a few days before - perhaps that was it. The couple asked around and was given the discouraging advice that their only choice was to move.  They were given the name of a woman who claimed to be able to communicate with and influence animals. That is where the narrative broke off, and you had to buy the magazine or a subscription to read more. 

So far very intriguing.  I have a thing about crows, having always understood why mankind has often been suspicious of them, but this year feeling a bit mobbed myself.  Whereas there might be three or four crows at a time at our old house, at the new one we are much closer to the island in the river where they stay every night, and also right along the power lines. We have had 200 crows at a time here.Apparently it is has been discovered that they recognise individuals, perhaps even by face, and can communicate warning or dislike to other crows.  They also recognise the warning calls of other birds and respond to those. They have some differentiation of small numbers and are regarded as very intelligent birds. I remain suspicious of their motives at all times.

I was hoping that the article, when I finally read it, would go into some new detail, some new research about crow communication. I got it out of the library - it was disappointing. The full article is now at the link above. It quickly deteriorates into woo and speculation. Could it be that the crows were trying to tell me...? Were they accepting my gift as a sort of apology or...? As a bit of fun, it's all right.


Cranberry said...

Corvids are very intelligent:

james said...

So far crows don't bother us much here in suburbia--though if they did my legal options would be somewhat limited. I wonder how well feathers would insulate against a portable crow-zapper.

The only place I've run into ravens was Yellowstone. I regretting not bringing along some old tennis rackets. In the event they didn't succeed in getting any of our lunch, so I suppose it worked out all right.

Grim said...

‘Once when an ancient Chan master visited a hermit, he found the hermit sitting out half cooked rice. The master said, “Why do crows fly away when they see a man?“ The hermit was at a loss; finally he put the same question back to the Chan master. The master said, “Because I still have a murderous heart.”’

Thomas Cleary, trans., Zen Lessons (Boston & London: Shambala, 1993), 161.