THE MURDEROUS CROWS

How ironic that the last time I wrote about crows, it was the first time I’d seen a murder — and it was exactly one year ago today. Except today, I really got some pictures before they all flew away.

Garry came running out of the bathroom. “Go look at the feeders!!”

Two crows

I went and there were hundreds of crows all over my deck, the rails, the trees. Literally hundreds. You could barely see the deck for all the crows on it. I had never even seen a crow in our woods or anywhere near a feeder. Today, we had a genuine murder of crows. After a bit of gawking — it was a serious Hitchcockian moment — I grabbed a camera.

Crows in the tree

Of course, by the time I had the cover off the lens and had turned it on, they had dispersed. There were still a few in the trees and I got a couple of interesting shots. If only I’d had the wits to grab the camera first and skip the gawking. It’s just that it was so strange to see so many crows on the deck when I didn’t even think we had any crows.

Garry would like to know how the expression “A murder of crows” came to be. I’m betting it is because crows are extremely fond of eating dead things. Plucking the eyes off corpses and all that. When they suddenly show up in a huge flock like that, it is rather unnerving.



Categories: Anecdote, Animals, birds, Birds, Black & White, black & white photography, Blackstone Valley, Photography

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3 replies

  1. I have never heard of them called a “murder”, just a flock. On the farm it would happen every autumn or winter with the sky becoming as black as a crow’s wing. They do travel together and at times strip everything edible from the area, which might be why they are called a murder. I always hated when they arrived because it always coincided with my hanging the bedding outside to dry. One would think I would wise up after the first time, but I love the smell of laundry dried out on the line. Great photos, by the way. Birds of any kind tend to be camera shy.

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    • I just shot them and hoped for the best. They were in motion the entire time. Even when they landed, it was for a few seconds and they were off again.

      From PBS: “Crows are members of the Corvidae family, which also includes ravens, magpies, and blue jays. Loud, rambunctious, and very intelligent, crows are most often associated with a long history of fear and loathing. They are considered pests by farmers trying to protect their crops and seedlings. Many people fear them simply because of their black feathers, which are often associating them with death. But research demonstrated in A Murder of Crows proves crows are actually very social and caring creatures, and also among the smartest animals on the planet.”

      Yesterday, to make my complement of foraging bird complete, I got a small flock of Grackles who put crows to shame as far as damaging crops goes.

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      • Do the red-wing blackbirds fit in this category? I used to laugh when they had a commercial out that showed some bird watchers marveling at the sighting of one of those. As for blue jays, those are vicious birds. One of our dogs got too close to a nesting one and was attacked by the bird. It was quite a sight, a German Shepherd running for his life with a blue jay pecking his fur out. He had to jump in the pond to escape and I never saw him go near that tree again!

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