Sunday, November 3, 2013

Crow 1999

 Crows are now considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals[3] with an encephalization quotient approaching that of some apes. The Jackdaw and the European Magpie have been found to have a nidopallium approximately the same relative size as the functionally equivalent neocortex in chimpanzees and humans, and significantly larger than is found in the gibbon.[4]  Wikipedia

I saw Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds when I was twelve years old.  The movie terrified me.  I can remember, after I'd seen the movie, going out for a ride on my horse and having large flocks of crows circle over me as I rode. I would watch them nervously, ready to head for home at a gallop if the crows tried to dive bomb me, arm thrown over my head for protection.

But even with Hitchcock's movie rattling around in my teenage brain, I loved crows, and still do.  I find them to be beautiful physically, and compelling, both as single beings and as  flocks.  I can remember a large pasture behind one of the homes I lived in as a young woman, filled with hundreds of crows in the winter, flying about and calling to each other. Although not an endangered species, their numbers have declined by 45% since 1999 due to West Nile virus.

What I love most about crows is their intelligence; black eyes filled to the brim with curiosity and caution.  This winter we mulched our flower beds with pecan shells and the crows swooped in to dine.  That is, until I tried to take their photographs.  The minute I pointed my camera in their direction they would take off.  I tried crawling on my belly, inside the house, up to the wall and then slowly bringing my camera up to the bottom of the window, pressing the shutter without looking.  However, to no avail, since by the time I had taken the first shot, they were gone.

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