It’s Murder, I Tell Ya!
ALL MORNING I HAVE BEEN TRYING to decide what to write about today. I couldn’t think of anything other than getting the laundry done and what to have for lunch. Not exactly topics of great fascination for me and I’m sure even less for you. So, I scooped up my computer and headed down the street to the nearby Chapel of St. Arbucks. St. Arbuck – the patron saint of jittery people.
On the way down an idea landed right in front of me. Actually, about twenty ideas landed – some crows were disassembling a squirrel.
Every winter for the last ten years or so Terre Haute (French for “Where the hell did these birds come from?”) has been invaded by crows – thousands of them. They arrive in November and don’t leave until around Easter. While they are here it is like living inside a showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, “The Birds.”
Entire neighborhoods are held in avian hostage by groups of crows that fill the trees, crap on everything in sight, chase small animals and the occasional human, and make noise like you wouldn’t believe. The official nomenclature for a group of crows is, “A Murder of Crows.” Very appropriate because that is what we would like to do them.
When I say that we have a lot of crows here I mean LOTS. When they all take flight they darken the sky (I’m not exaggerating.) The Murder can take five minutes to pass by. The official head count has them numbering in five figures.
The city has been making efforts to get the crows to leave and go somewhere else. They came here from someplace so somebody, somewhere, figured out how to get them to relocate.
One thing the city is trying is to just be annoying. They are good at that anyway, so why not try it on the crows. Each evening in downtown Terre Haute one can hear what sounds like a clip from, “The Guns of Navarone,” echoing off of buildings and the eardrums of anyone nearby. The objective being to startle the crows and make them think that they have really noisy neighbors, so they’ll move. It did spook the birds for the first few weeks, but now the crows have learned to ignore the booming and to just “caw” louder.
Crows are very intelligent creatures. Someone did a study and places them near the top of the heap among birds, which puts them just ahead of telephone solicitors and TSA personnel. I have no doubt that crows could easily complete most state income tax forms – if they could only hold a pen.
So, the city keeps setting off M-80s or other blasts to scare the birds, but they refuse to employ tactics which would actually work. What they need to do is put up a few signs around town saying, “Twenty-five cent bounty on all dead crows. See the Mayor to collect.” The crows, being the bright critters that they are, would soon notice that their numbers were, literally, taking a hit. They would look around, say to themselves, “I wonder what Kentucky looks like this time of year?” and head south. No doubt. Slam Dunk. Easy Peasy.
You know as well I do that there would soon appear a “Save The Crows Coalition,” that would protest the use of any effective means. These are the same people who would declare Mrs. Paul a genocidal criminal for making fish sticks. Remember that intelligence scale that has the crows ahead of Congress? It would place the Coalition addicts just a slot or two behind stale bread.
And so, our annual Murder of Crows Convention goes on unabated. The city is befouled while squirrels, pigeons and small household pets develop nervous tics when they see the dark cloud approaching.
I say, “Lock and Load.” Just say you were aiming at a prowler and missed by 90 degrees.