What Is That Sound?
I HEARD AN UNWELCOME NOISE as I stepped out of my car this morning at St. Arbucks. It was a noise I’ve heard a million times before. Each time I hear it I cringe and wish that Annie Oakley was still alive.
The Crows are returning to the city.
Every year, in the early fall, we are inundated by thousands of crows – tens of thousands of crows.
When the crows return to Terre Haute (That’s French for, “I’m going to the carwash.”) the skies are darkened as they fly overhead.
The official term for a large group of these birds is a “Murder of Crows,” and it seems very appropriate. Other species of birds as well as squirrels and countless small animals take cover when the crows are around. I’ve seen crows blow pigeons out of the air like a squadron of Luftwaffe fighters. The only time I’ve seen the crows head for cover was when some huge Redtail Hawks are in the neighborhood. When the Hawks show up even small cars take cover.
Last year my wife, the lovely and equally anti-crow, Dawn, and I watched a National Geographic documentary about crows (It was either National Geographic or the Food Channel). The Docu-mercial said that crows recognize people who have given them trouble, and they can later pick those individual humans out of a crowd – and – they can communicate that information to other crows who did not witness the Anti-Crow person in action.
They went on and on about how smart crows are and now, armed with that knowledge, I think that I’ve been able to recognize several crows in our neighborhood who have been seen hanging out at a local “Biker bar.” One of them is a candidate for Congress.
A couple of years ago I got into a minor confrontation with a local idiot who saw me shoo-ing some crows off of the car (I guess they see me as an enemy). The idiot actually said,
“You should leave them alone, they’re just being Natural.”
After I finished biting my tongue to avoid verbally turning him into chum, I very calmly and politely told him,
“If you think that it is OK for the crows to crap all over my car, how about if I and a few friends, after a nice Mexican dinner, and have a group intestinal purge all over your car? It’ll be all so “Natural.”
The idiot picked up his kale and copy of Mother Jones Magazine and slinked away – naturally, and under his own power. I think my response was well measured and not too harsh. “No horses were harmed in the making of that repartee.
The crow I saw this morning was probably a forward scout – sent ahead of the Murder to make sure everything was safe and that the Humans haven’t been importing Redtail Hawks or handing out Sniper rifles to everyone (Not a bad idea if you ask me – but you didn’t ask, did you?).
The city, in all its collective ineptitude, will once again try to scare the crows away by setting off loud noisemakers. It has been totally ineffective in the past so, of course, they think it might work this year.
It took the crows about twenty minutes to figure out that it was just noise with no punch. Now, when “The Crow Patrol” (seriously!) starts making noise the younger crows seem to come out of hiding and dance. Have you ever seen two crows Tango?
Come to Terre Haute – It’s Crow Season!
Bring an umbrella.