Something to crow about in difficult times
Perceptions by Gerry Warner
Time to lighten up a bit. I just don’t have it in my heart today to comment on a world where people are slaughtered in a nightclub just for being themselves and a presidential candidate tries to spin the tragedy for political advantage or where a British politician gets murdered in broad daylight by another crazy with a gun.
What’s the world coming to? Cancel the question. I don’t want to know.
No, I would like to figure out a mystery in my mundane, mostly boring, little life. It happens almost every day when I head outside for my morning constitutional, a short run and several walks up and down the grotty, old wooden staircase by the Rec Plex connecting Upper and Lower Cranbrook where I live.
Apparently my actions greatly disturb the neighborhood crow that perches on a telephone pole aside my route and when the creature sees me coming breaks out into a veritable cacophony of crow cuss words as I try to run by without disturbing him.
But apparently it disturbs him greatly because no sooner have I jogged by his pole then he launches himself like a feathered missile and dive bombs me as I innocently jog by caw-cawing menacing threats at me in crow that I would be embarrassed to repeat here.
No kidding. It’s like a scene out of Hitchcock’s horror flick “The Birds” with this demented, kamikaze crow wheeling and soaring through the air as he zooms down from the heavens missing my head by mere inches. At least it feels that way. Thankfully, the air-borne assault continues for only a few seconds before the agitated avian returns to his lofty perch and waits for me to come back. I then do my circuit up and down the stairs for 20 minutes or so and jog back only to have my tormenter resume his aerial attacks until I’m safely out of sight at home.
At first I tried simply ignoring the grumpy crow, but to no avail. Then I tried the diplomatic approach, stopping in mid-run to talk quietly and soothingly to my winged attacker but that didn’t work either. Now when I run by I just give him the finger to show my disdain for his aerial bullying.
But this got me to thinking. Have I just come up against a deranged crow intent on enforcing its territorial imperative or is the species known for ill-tempered assaults on those that dare to enter their lofty domain? So I did what we all do in the Digital Age. I turned to Uncle Google for enlightenment and I got it in spades. Crows belong to the bird family corvids, which are the most intelligent bird family and are sometimes called “the birds that think like humans” because they can count, make tools (stick hooks) to catch their prey and recognize human facial features. I’ll say. Maybe I’ll try wearing a mask the next time I go out. In fact, crows brain-to-skull size almost tops the animal kingdom ranking right up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. Crows are known for dropping nuts to break the shell and eat the seed and storing food in up to 200 hiding spots and going back to eat the food that spoils first. They also can talk and in one case a pet crow was taught how to vocalize an operatic aria.
So what am I up against? The Einstein of the animal kingdom? It’s spooky.
Crows are emotional animals too, vocalizing anger, happiness and sadness so obviously I’ve done something to piss this crow off. Does he hate my beard? The sweats I wear or is it the green, hunting cap I wear? Maybe it’s my attitude though I bear no grudge against the crow or any other bird for that matter. It’s a frustrating mystery to me but it certainly beats thinking about the latest mass killing down South or Donald Trump.
So maybe I should be grateful for my crow companion. He’s simply dispensing a bit of morning therapy to me and he really knows how to make a guy’s day.