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Crows

    There are a lot of crows around here. So many that one seldom notices them. There are some lately that have intruded on my consciousness. I’ve concluded that crows are smart. And more individual than I used to think.

    I had always assumed that all crows were universally black–no variation in color. But there’s one that’s different. She frequents my daughter’s backyard. This particular crow has one white feather on the top of her head, neatly dividing the usual black crown. My daughter calls her Crowella.

    There’s a family of crows–two juveniles and a parent–that live in my son’s neighborhood. They have discovered a wonderful toy. One of my son’s neighbors has one of those whirly-bird attic ventilators–a shiny silver ovoid that twirls constantly on the roof. This particular crow family uses it as a playground. Parent stands guard at the peak of the roof. The two kids take turns. Hop on the top of the ventilator. Ride it around and around until dizzy. Teeter off and let sibling have a go. As soon as a human appears, parent shrieks a warning and all three flap away, the last to ride the ventilator wobbling a bit.

    There’s another crow in my backyard. On a beautiful sunny day I could see him out my office window. He just sat there quietly in the cascara tree, swaying gently as the branch moved in a slight breeze. He blinked now and then as he looked here and there over the yard. It was such a peaceful scene and I envied him.

    Well, I thought, I can read out there as well as in here, so I gathered my books and took them out onto the patio in that wonderful sunshine. The moment I appeared the crow started his racket. He cawed and shrieked and flapped and yelled right over my head. How could I read with that cacophony above me? I went back into the house.

    The crow sat there in smug silence. I got the point. It was his yard.

by Victoria Bartlett