I May Have Learned Something about the Crows in my Neighborhood

My walk. Oh, fuck how I loath saying that. I went for my walk this morning. Going for a walk with a dog is among the most extraordinary simple pleasures you can take in life. Going for a walk by yourself is just fucking exercise. Oh, I guess I’d better go cart this fucking sack of blood and puss and shit around for a little while so that it continues to move that blood and puss and shit through the sack of flesh a little while longer. It’s disgusting. Walking by yourself.

But I do it because it’s still beautiful out there and because I do feel better when I move around some.

Anyway, I think I’ve figured out something about the crows. The dude who goes “caw, caw, caw”–which may not always be the same bird, I mean, probably isn’t–is a bird who is moving around. “Caw caw caw” from the AT&T yard. “Caw caw caw” from the trees by the creek. “Caw caw caw” as its flying overhead toward the far pasture. Always three long caws, and the bird who’s making them is moving around.

So, that bird–which I’m thinking of as the patrol bird, who’s out seeing what’s going on in the neighborhood–does its three long caws and then it is quiet for a second. It is sometimes answered by a series of shorter, higher pitched caws. I counted these and there are anywhere from six to nine more like “ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca” noises and they usually come from the same spot. Like this bird is more stationary–maybe eating, maybe hanging out with the kids, who knows.

But I definitely hear the “caw caw caws” from all over the neighborhood and the “ca-ca-ca-ca-ca”s from one spot–though that spot changes from day to day or even during the day, I guess depending on whether there’s a more interesting spot in the neighborhood to sit.

I’m going to have to listen more carefully for this, but I think that more than three long “caws” in a row is an alarm.

So “caw caw caw” is like “I’m out here and I’m looking around and everything seems fine” and “ca-ca-ca-ca-ca” could be “cool, all is well back here where we’re just chilling.” And “caw caw caw caw caw caw” is “Holy shit, look out!”

Which means, I think, that when I answered the “caw caw caw” dude the other day with “caw caw caw,” the reason he was so silent was to listen to see if my flock would answer me. Were they nearby just chilling or had I wandered too far from the group?