Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
Now, I recognize that the kids of today are far smarter than the kids were when I was one. They can use a hand held video device before they are potty trained. I see them in the grocery carts at Publix, that’s how I know so much.
Of course, we have five grandchildren and it goes without saying they are smarter, prettier, more handsome, and more athletic than anyone else’s. However, I learned a few days ago that one of our granddaughters was sorely missing in some basic knowledge.
As we were driving up the street there were a couple of Corvus brachyrhynchos’s walking in the middle of the road. When I mentioned the general lack of respect that we were receiving from them, our granddaughter was obviously unaware of their attitude and generally rude behavior.
I have been observing these birds for years. At first glance, like some people we know, they look fantastic. They have shiny black feathers that seem to glisten in the sun. Always looking so formal and regal. Taking flight easily and swiftly on a whim. They seem, at first glance, to have a lot going for them. But when you look closely, you will find a mean streak hidden behind all that charming appearance.
Don’t get me wrong. Crows were very useful for a long time, especially in the rural areas of the country. Some may remember when people started to travel around more and would occasionally need help with directions and finding out how far they had to go to get to someplace. Before Garmin and Tom Tom we had to have some way to find places. In the early days, one might stop by a farmhouse, service station, or a person walking by the roadside and ask where someone lived or where a certain place was and ask for directions and distance. It might go like this: “Can you tell me how to get to where Bud Smith lives and how far it is”? The reply would be something like this: “Well you go down this road till you see a big oak tree. You turn to the right down that little road, Go till you get to the forks and go left to the first gap. Go through that gap and Bud’s house is the one with the red barn. I don’t know how fur that is ‘round the road. It’s ‘bout 2 miles “through the woods.””
Later as people got better educated about giving directions they improved. Then it might go like this: “Can you tell me how to get to where Bud Smith lives and how far it is”? The reply would be something like this: “Well you go down this road till you see a big oak tree. You turn to the right down that little road, Go till you get to the forks and go left to the first gap. Go through that gap and Bud’s house is the one with the red barn. I don’t know how fur that is ‘round the road. But, it’s ‘bout 2 miles “as the crow flies””. So you can see the important role the crow played in improving how people got around. Everyone seemed to know what “as the crow flies” meant.
When you look and observe, these beautiful creatures have another side to them. Maybe that’s what Edgar Allen Poe was seeing when he was writing his epic poem.
First of all, crows are arrogant and snobbish! Observe the fact that they do not respect property rights. They will land in your trees, your yard, or your garden without permission. They will eat your pecans, peck your tomatoes and your corn and ignore your scarecrows! They will land on your roof and peck on the roofing and make loud noises. All that is bad enough. But that is only part of the problem with crows. They will do so without apology. The robins and redbirds do seem to have an apologetic air about them when they eat the berries off the holly trees and scratch for worms in the yard. But not so the crow! The crow struts!
They strut when they walk! They throw their heads back and look down their beaks at you with disdain. They have a “sneaky” look in their eyes. And they will dare you by walking right out in front of your car to peck on some poor dead creature’s carcass. Then at the last minute leap to flight out of the way. They seem to say, “Let me see you do that”. And, they will yell at you from the top of the tallest pine tree. And heaven only knows what they are saying about us! When they are not yelling at you from the tree tops, they swoop down right over head and release a verbal barrage, or maybe something else.
So, I think it incumbent on us to be sure that the youth of today are not taken in by fine attire and appearance and make sure they are aware of the true nature of these birds before they extend them a hand of welcome that is likely to be pecked! Let them “Nevermore” be taken in by these charmers. After all, everyone has a GPS now a days.