Listening to the Crows at 4 a.m. this morning (hard not to when they are outside your bedroom window!), I marveled at their ability to summon the ‘troops’ to their defense when faced with a threat.
The threat in this case was a lone Eagle who had taken up sentry duty on the tallest fir tree behind the neighbourhood church. The Crows had nests throughout this area and called it home.
The call to arms began with a lone Crow on the neighbour’s roof. Shortly thereafter it was joined by another who also took up the call. After about half an hour, the entire murder of Crows was on the scene harassing the foreigner with loud disapproval. The response from the Eagle almost sounded like amusement, but eventually it departed with the Crows in pursuit.
This was not my first experience witnessing the ability of this bird to communicate and work with each other. When I was a teenager, there was a large old cedar tree that straddled the property line between our house and our neighbour. A picket fence came from the back of the lot and ended a couple of feet short of the cedar. On the tree facing the fence was a bird feeder.
The Crows would come once a day and line up on the picket fence. The Crow nearest the feeder would fly up and feed. The rest of the Crows would move up one and were quiet for about 30 seconds then would begin to chatter. The Crow in the feeder would fly to the back of the line and the process would start all over again.
I think that there is a higher communication level to the voice and the actions of these birds. Unlike the Seagulls that will almost fight to the death over a scrap of food, the Crows either leave each other alone with their bounty, or they share without complaint. A more social bird to be sure!
A good lesson for all of us. Communicate well and there is strength in coming together as a team to solve a problem.
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