Thursday, November 7, 2019

What Crows Know

The other day I was walking to the Reservoir with my dog and we stopped to chat with a woman I know who lives on the road to the park. She is a bit older than me and lives in the cutest little blue cottage set in a garden lot with a screen of trees and shrubs along the roadway for privacy. In the good weather she is often out in her yard with her cat, who happens to like Hapi. Hapi has come to know who I am friends with along our route and she always wants me to stop there and chat with them, regardless of whether their cats are friendly or not.

Anyway the woman was in her yard and I crossed the road to chat. She told me she has been watching the crows and their reactions to different people walking by. Apparently they have been dive bombing some passers-by.

"Really? They don't dive bomb me!" I said.

"Of course not," she said, "They know you because of your dog, and they know me because of my cane, but it is interesting to watch how they react to people they don't know."

That took me aback. They know me?

"Well of course they know you! You have that big gray dog!"

I know that crows are smart and it is interesting to watch them go about their business, but it did not occur to me that it was a two-way street. When I left my friend's yard to continue on to the Reservoir I was thinking about the crows. What exactly do they know about me? For sure they know where I live, and they must recognize my car. But mostly I am on foot around town so they know my comings and goings, they know something of my daily routine.

Do they talk about me?

When I hear them cawing as we walk by, are they saying, "Here they come, there they go"?

The crows must know quite a few people around town, I can't be the only identifiable person to them. Do they keep track of relationships, who knows who and what they do together?

Or maybe they are completely uninterested in me, it's my dog they are keen to watch. The day that Hapi took so long to get out of bed I saw a crow standing in my driveway near the back door where Hapi usually emerges first thing in the morning.

It was pecking at the ground, as if pretending that it was there hunting for food when really it was wondering what had happened that the dog was not outside yet.


Wisewebwoman said...

I love this post, Annie as I have so partial to crows and their intelligence and I did a post a while back after I accidentally killed a crow with my car about 5 k from my home and the crows gathered in my trees around my house and just glared at me for days. It was frightening and awful and sad. I would go out in the morning and look up and apologise. For about a week. They finally forgave me and started coming to be fed again.

My daughter's cat (now RIP, killed) was the servant of her crows around her property. They had him trained to bring catches to them in the mornings. Which he did. And they communicated with each other in their own language, a kind of chirp.

I adore the ones outside my apartment now. I watch their activities and listen to their conversations which are so varied. And watched them grieve the loss of their fledglings in the spring.

Beautiful creatures.


Rain Trueax said...

Birds are amazing and they have quite the vocabulary if you get the blessing of having enough time to watch them interact. The crows and ravens don't come to our bird feeders like the blackbirds do. I am not sure of the motives but when we were spreading out seed for the wild turkeys in the pasture beyond the fence, they would come to clean up afterward. The turkeys left us when the leaves left the trees. I miss them but hope they'll return when the leaves do. I had no idea that roosting in trees, quite high up, was what they did at night. I think birds are more intelligent than we give them credit for being