This morning, there were… I don’t know… a lot… maybe fifty crows circling slowly overhead. It was early for crows. Since the time change, we don’t see or hear them until the very end of our walk, just as the first edge of the sun peeks over the rim of the earth. But today, while the sky was still mostly dark, they were up, making big, slow loops.

A couple of crows were cawing at almost exactly the same time, almost in unison, but not quite.

They kept coming over our heads and then swinging out over the field and then back over our heads. Slowly, with the not-quite-together cawing.

I had the distinct feeling I was watching some kind of training, or perhaps, inadvertently, participating in it.

Here’s a thing–a woman and a dog. Here’s how you get a good look at it. Here’s how you follow it. Here’s how you alert others to it. Here’s how a whole swarm of you might maneuver. Here’s the orders the crow-in-charge is going to holler. You, bark those orders with me.

I think the dog and I were an object lesson at crow school.

4 thoughts on “Practice

  1. You probably were! We’ve had a family return to our backyard the past few years and nest in one of the big trees. It is fascinating to watch them teach the young ones to fly and to communicate with each other.

  2. We get massive murders of crows gathering in the park by our place. Sometimes they just sit in the trees and yell. Sometimes they all land on the ground and scare the Canadian geese into the pond. I always wonder if it’s some family story-time, or Crow Parliament (I know, that’s rooks, but still).

  3. I think that’s the thing I find so intriguing about crows. Crows are neighbors in a way that other birds somehow don’t seem to be (with maybe the exception of mocking birds), in that they seem to live with us, not just among us. You watch them for long enough, and “long enough” in this case is not very long at all, you realize they pay a lot of attention to what you’re doing and that they have complex social lives themselves. It’s cool.

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