Home > Nature, observations > Murder of crows

Murder of crows

December 22, 2005

Our campus (and the rest of our town) is annual winter home to an enormous murder of crows, which fill the tops of hundreds of trees at night.  In this early-evening picture, the crows are still arriving and will continue to arrive for another ten minutes or so. Airborne crows do not appear in the picture because the shutter was open for about two seconds.

They are very interesting creatures.  Crows obviously prefer the company of other crows, yet unlike most social birds they are relatively autonomous in flight.  They’re very intelligent birds, and can make an astonishing variety of sounds; some quite human.  They appear to be omnivorous, and despite taking quite a lot of their diet from the streets (in the form of squirrels who, it seems, will never learn), are seldom hit by cars.  After a hard day of doing whatever it is crows do, they return to town in a long, chaotic stream over a hundred feet wide and stretching a mile or so into the evening sky, roosting on trees 70 to 125 feet high.

But as interesting as they are, crows are not good neighbors.  They’re not… toilet trained, and a crow is a lot bigger than a pigeon.  Their droppings pile up under trees like this one.  City and campus workers can be seen out on nice winter days with pressure washers, cleaning off sidewalks but nothing hides the stench, and bird droppings are a real health hazard as they can result in serious lung infections. 

Ideally, the word “murder” should be pronounced in the deep, melifluous voice of The Simpson’s “Sideshow Bob” (AKA, Bob Terwilliger: “Muurrrder of crows”.

Categories: Nature, observations
  1. WeeDram
    December 22, 2005 at 21:46 | #1

    The ultimate would be the droppings under the Gingko tree in front of Cook Hall while the tree is fruiting.  Not that I know whether Cook Hall and the Gingko still stands.  Maybe I’m dating myself.

  2. December 23, 2005 at 12:24 | #2

    Oh yeah, that tree is still there, and we sure wouldn’t tear down <object.phtml?objectname=Cook_Hall”>our castle</a>.  There’s another Ginko tree over by CVA, but fortunately Ginko trees are too short for crows to roost on them.  That would be a truly offensive combination!

    This morning driving back from breakfast, we stopped at a red light and a crow landed right in front of our car.  He walked around unconcernedly, picking bits of something off the street.  When the light turned green he just flew out of the way.  It’s as if he were mocking us…

  3. December 24, 2005 at 12:09 | #3

    when I was a kid in the SW many years ago we would find a crow roost in the daytime and set dynamite0or at least the adults did-and after dark when all were home on the roost-damn sound like a good country song title- the dynamite would be set off to send a lot of crows to that big road kill in the sky.

    Crows are pests and will eat more fruit and nuts out of an orchard than gets harvested-say, maybe we ought to send them all to the left coast.

  4. WeeDram
    December 24, 2005 at 14:27 | #4

    We should send them to the White House.  Lots of nuts there.

  5. December 26, 2005 at 10:46 | #5

    *Still snickering at the thought of setting off a stick of dynomite in a tree full of crows*  :lol:

  6. December 26, 2005 at 12:10 | #6

    that TNT will make the feathers fly

Comments are closed.