Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Murder of Crows

A murder of crows...A murder is what you call a grouping of crows. It's not a flock, certainly not a herd, it's a murder. It seems that also is what's happened to them. Have you noticed how few crows you see these days? I think I notice their absence more because their presence here on our little plot of land used to be so prolific. Their caws served as our alarm clock every morning. It was a true cacophony at once irritating and yet comforting for its familiarity. It was about ten or so years ago that I noticed they weren't so loud and their numbers seemed significantly diminished. Somewhere in that timespan, they seemed to disappear altogether. This morning, I realized how loud the other birds are with their songs. The song birds, thankfully, seem to be increasing dramatically. I've been seeing birds over the past few years that I haven't seen since my teenage years before DDT killed so many of them in one fell swoop.  Seeing and hearing again what we thought might be lost forever is wonderful. But those poor crows, where have they gone?
Drawing by Elva Paulson

A little anecdote concerning crows, I remember our little Murphy cat trying to play with them and the crows chased her and scared her half to death. Murphy was always tiny and crows are much larger than you might imagine. We had a very agressive male cat who also had feline leukemia. I didn't want little Murphy around him because I was afraid that he'd bite her. Murphy was found discarded on the side of the rode after someone tossed her out of a car. She wasn't even weaned, she lost all of her tail and part of her spine, she limped and evidently hurt for the rest of her life but she was one strong, determined little spirit. I kept her away from the other cats because I was afraid they'd hurt her but after six months, she still couldn't meow. Instead, she'd bark like the squirrels she saw out the window. When I began to let her go outside, I warned her about the "boogey cat." Sure enough, one day he starts chasing her and she came leaping toward me, yelping with every bounce and I was saying, "It's the boogey cat, Murphy! Run!" Ever after that, all I had to do was say, "Murphy, boogey cat!" and she'd come running to me...I often used this tactic to get her in when there wasn't a boogey cat in site. So, after the crows chased off their potential playmate, pecking at the poor little thing and flogging her with their wings, I had a new phrase that would make her come running, "Crows, Murphy! Crows!" lol

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