View Full Version : A Murder of Crows

August 15th, 2017, 12:52 PM
From the Miscellaneous Journal:

A few days ago Jody and I went for a hike at Quail Hollow State Park. It was a hot day and we decided to walk one of the woodland trails. The mosquitoes are pretty thick in there at this time of year, but they don't make much trouble as long as you keep moving.

So we were hoofing it through the woods there and I happened to notice a couple of crows calling to each other. I decided to butt into the conversation. I took out my crow call and gave them a couple of blasts of what, in crowspeak, means "come hither". Yeepers, Ole! It seemed like crows came thither from every point on the compass. They were yelling at each other and flitting from branch to branch in the canopy and just raising cain in general. Jody and I kept walking.

After we had walked about forty yards, the crows calmed down and everything was quiet behind us. I gave them another blast of "come hither", and again, they came thither. This time there were more of them and they raised a real uproar. We walked on another forty yards.

Each time I called them, they seemed to get more excited. Then I made the hoarse squealing sound that means, "He'p me! He'p me! Snakes are eating the nestlings!" Egad, they converged on the place and were fit to be tied. They flew around in the canopy and made the branches lash back and forth, all the while yelling and carrying on fit to kill. They were fixin' to raise hell and drive a wedge under it. For a minute there, I was afraid they were going to tear the woods down and come after us.

We walked the whole woodland loop there and kept those crows following us through the trees. If someone had looked down on the woods from above, he could have followed our progress by watching that "murder" of crows agitate the tree tops. The things you see when all you've got is a crow call.


Yours truly, ca. 1950.

Abstractor of the Quintessence
Order of the Digital Grail

R.A. Stewart
August 15th, 2017, 01:15 PM
I checked out the picture and am all envious. Two crows! One per shoulder!

We used to have great flocks of crows in our neighborhood, filling the air with their yelling. The first wave of West Nile virus wiped them out, and we never get more than one or two at a time. I really think they pass the word along somehow that this is a bad place. :-( We miss them.

August 15th, 2017, 08:39 PM
I think we had five to start with. When they were young, we would line them all up on a tree branch and feed them on bread and milk; other things too, worms, etc. When they were older, they would fly to our neighbor's clothesline and walk along it, pulling out the clothes pins. The neighbor lady was not best pleased.

R.A. Stewart
August 16th, 2017, 11:42 AM
Ha! Yes, they are very smart and curious individuals with minds of their own--and wings--it's difficult to keep them from doing what they feel like doing.

August 16th, 2017, 02:38 PM
You said it right: they have minds. It is not just low cunning. And they always have something going on, something cooking. Oh, and they have treasure troves. They collect shiny things: coins, gum wrappers, bottle caps. You can find the hoard if you are observant and very patient.

R.A. Stewart
August 16th, 2017, 04:42 PM
It always picks up my mood a little bit when I reflect that we get to share this world with crows.

December 21st, 2017, 04:26 PM
Crows are dangerous creatures as are their cousins the Ravens. It's called a Murder of crows for a reason and I have seen their behaviour first hand.
I'd throw that Crowcall of yours into a very deep body of water weighted down by a big stone because frankly the both of you are lucky to still have eyes in your heads antagonising those awful raptors like that.

December 22nd, 2017, 01:07 AM
I'd throw that Crowcall of yours into a very deep body of water weighted down by a big stone because frankly the both of you are lucky to still have eyes in your heads antagonising those awful raptors like that.
I would do the same but maybe for a different reason. These 'crow calls' mimic crow distress calls and are designed to attract crows by hunters so that they can be shot. It's not so much 'come hither' as 'help me I'm being hurt'

December 22nd, 2017, 06:30 AM

from http://www.nature-mentor.com

December 22nd, 2017, 07:45 AM
There are several "words" in a crow's vocabulary; they do not all indicate distress. At least one announces a find of food: come and get it. At least one is a "rally" call. There are many others.

Crows are not dangerous to humans. We are too big to be prey. You folks have been watching too many movies.

If you are out with a camera and want to photograph an animal that is easily spooked, like a wild turkey, you can sometimes calm them down by using the crow call and the "rally" word. The "danger" word will sometimes send them running.

March 21st, 2018, 01:13 AM