Murder, She Wrote

Megan at beachbungalow8 posted last week about her Halloween decorations, or lack thereof.  Seems her off-spring are not impressed with her efforts.  We’ve had the same issue around here and Megan and I also have our crow problem in common.

Not ones to go overboard for Halloween, we both had a keen appreciation for the realistic crow.  Megan’s step-dogs have taken hers for play toys while I have a different canine conundrum.  Rosie, the boxer pup, is bothered by them.  Barks.  Incessantly.  Even after being able to view them closely and give them a sniff, once they return to their perches she barks so hard her front feet come off the ground.  Bother.

Because I really like crows.  Not just at Halloween, or for decorating, but in real life.  The two youngest Blandings boys were born in February, and while their arrivals were three years apart, on both visits there was a large roost of crows in the trees outside the hospital.

Rather than fearing they were a harbinger of doom, they were oddly comforting.  Inky black they swooped and climbed outside the window and their silhouettes looked like lace against the gray winter sky.

It was not until a few years ago that I read a fascinating article about crows.  Innately familial, not only do they mate for life (as much as 17 – 21 years) they live in close family structures with older siblings helping to care for the young.

There is a lot of speculation about their ability to communicate, but it does appear that some species can relay information over great distances.  Certain communities of crows will learn the languages of other birds who live nearby and will often respond to their distress cries.

And they are darn smart.  Certainly one of the smartest birds, there are several examples of their using tools including dropping seeds onto roadways so that vehicles will break them open making them easier to eat.  A species in Israel will drop bread crumbs in water to bait fish.

There is also a well-circulated story of crows being able to count hunters, up to three, moving in and out of a blind.  There is a gentleman who thinks crows could be trained in urban settings to pick up litter and deposit it in a vending machine type device that would provide a reward.  Just a treat and nothing more.
The October 2008 issue of World of Interiors seemed chocked full of great black and white images; I could not resist.  From top, Neisha Crosland’s fabric, “Diagonal Stripe,” and hand stenciled limestone tiles; Florentine glasses from Watt’s London; Bone inlay tile, De Ferranti; An image from Shaker Design; Out of this World; fabric on umbrella, Parini from Designers Guild; embroidered fabric by Charlene Mullen; a mural by Henri Matisse in his dining room in Nice; hardware by Nanz.  By the by, a group of crows is a murder.  I’m sure that doesn’t help their image.
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25 thoughts on “Murder, She Wrote

  1. As an urban gardener, I realized early on that I would not only need to learn to live with crows but also to love them. You’re right — the more you know about crows, ravens etc. the more interesting they become.

    “In Norse myth, Odin the creator of earth who lives high above it in the World Tree, sends his two ravens — thought and memory — back to earth every day to bring back the news of human life. Thought and memory are our abilities to invent and recollect.”

    When I read that, I was hooked on big, black birds. And I’ve always been hooked on black and white pattern so thanks for those lovely images.

  2. Carolina, there’s tons more, of course, than I mentioned here. They are truly amazing. (Some of my friends find this affinity for crows a bit odd, btw.)

  3. Patricia – speaking of, one of my husband’s hunting friends thinks crows can count to three because they are counting on their “fingers.” That’s as close to that subject as I care to come today.

  4. Crows are fascinating, and while some may have low regard for their “noise”, I too find them comforting. I admit I also like Canada Geese, though the local golf course does not hold them in such high esteem.

  5. Wonderful post…..your writing and fascinating info is a treat for the season. My grown daughters'(i have 4) first school writing at 7 years old was about a crow. She titled it: “The Caw of the Wild”. Crows have tickled my fancy since. Thank you for the fun and facts. Ginny

  6. What an interesting post. I’ve never really given crows any thought. I always considered their “hop” was kind of creepy. I found this to be very insightful. Wow, I kind of like the silly birds now.

  7. Thanks for these beautiful images that I can begin this day admiring – I especially love the Matisse mural and the hardware!

    Up until I read your post I’ve hated crows – they often wake me up in the morning. I’ll never think about them in exactly the same way again… a murder of crows!

  8. I’ll have to link Dad to this. HIs father, Grandpa, always did a perfect crow “caw.” They always make me think of him.

    Great facts with your ever clever detailing. Thanks!

    ~ MC

  9. Ah, a fellow crow lover. I thought I was alone. LOL. I have always loved the clever crow to the point of oddity. I actually caw at them if no one else is around! I have heard that you can never fool a crow twice. For some reason, I find that hilarious. Maye I was a crow in a former life- who knows?

  10. Well, it’s a very well-written post Patricia and I love the images you used. But… everytime I see a group of crows I think of “The Birds”!

  11. oh i love crows too.they’re so beautiful and regal.
    I can remember being up in the middle of the night with a newborn, and watching them fill a boston, winter sky. it was comforting.

    poor rosie though!

  12. I fell in love with crows after doing some research on them. They are truly the most ‘family oriented’ birds and so smart! I have 19th century Danish oil painting of crows that I treasure! There is an artist in Taos NM who makes the most amazing bronzes of crows/ravens… can’t remember his name though, but I will be there over Thanksgiving. I would love one but the price is steep :(……… Christy

  13. Do you have any idea where those hand stenciled black and white tiles came from? I’ve searched and searched and have had no luck.

    Many thanks.

  14. Jessica – I believe they were Neisha Crossland as well. Sometimes things do appear before the are available – did you try emailing them from the site? The site, btw, is fab.

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