The Way of the Crow



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Crow Stories

There is little wonder that crows are very often the subjects of legends, folktales, and storytelling traditions around the world. I make those remarks in light of the life I shared with Spirit over the span of five years. He was keen of sight and hearing, and his other senses were no less acute. It is this kind of sensitivity that makes crows and other corvids legendary birds.

The crow stories I have collected over the years exemplify the intelligence and unique chartacter of these birds. For instance, Marilyn Burns of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, relates that,

As I glanced out of my dining room window one day, I saw two pheasants going head to head in an altercation. Hopping excitedly from side to side over the pheasants was a crow. He was so like a referee working a boxing match, I had to laugh. Finally one pheasant dominated and the other ran away. The crow flew to a nearby tree, and from the top most branch cawed the news for at least five minutes.

Phyllis Gillis, from Orangeville, Ontario, recounted a story illustrating both the intelligence and determination of crows. She writes,

Last June, my son decided to remove the hard top from his jeep and replace it with a summer canvas top. As there was no place to store it, he left it out in the back yard. This top has a hard roof and windows on three sides. The part that slides over the windshield is open.

Well, a few days later, two curious crows came to look at this apparition. Looking through the windows, two crows reflected back at them. How excited they became - cawing and flapping their wings as they pecked at their images! They kept at it for so long and with such noise and excitment that we literally thought they would have a heart attack. Finally at dusk, they left.  

On day two, they returned repeating yesterday's performance. But this time they had a new plan. After the noisy greeting to their images, they raced inside the jeep top through the opening. They stopped dead in their tracks when they saw no one there. You could almost see their confusion. With much cawing and flapping they raced outside and ran around the top. When they stopped at the windows they could see "them" again. How excited they were! So back inside they went and the whole process started again. 

On day three they came up with another new plan. They flew quickly to the window - always the same one as the sun didn't give their reflections in the others - and became so excited when they saw their "friends" again. But this time, one raced inside while the other one stood guard at the window. Again the one who raced inside saw no one there. So he raced outside to tell his pal. But this bird must have said, "you stay out and I'll go in," for they changed places.

The opening is big enough that we could see what they were doing inside, and their noise always let us know they were there, so we could race to our window and watch. So bird number two ran in and after checking all the corners he went to the window to tell his friend who then raced inside. Looking out the window they must have seen the reflections again, as they became very excited, and with a lot of cawing and flapping of wings they raced outside again. Racing around the top, they came to that window again, and behold their friends were inside. They raced around to the opening but no one was there! I'm sure if they were human, they would have stopped and scratched their heads in bewilderment. 

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