They go unnoticed overhead
Above the supermarket malls and cities
Suburban fields and meadows
Airborne gangs dressed in black feather jackets
Fearless wise guys with a raucous comment
For the goings on below.

              Published: Pulsar Poetry (UK) 2011

One of the first things you notice after being retired is that you have time to notice things. Not as much as I thought there would be, but time enough.

I have begun to observe crows these last three years— such interesting birds. Some people are against them. They rob nests when they can find them, eat the young. I watch them walk along the fence in my back yard, scanning the evergreens for nests. Not nice, but then we all kill something. I remember a Buddhist monk’s remark: “We are all food, and the eaters of food.” I have digressed. I tend to do that.

I want to talk about crows. I’m quid-pro-crow. They fascinate me, so damn smart—and cautious. After the first three years of being fed a few, the older ones began to dare to stand their ground as close as ten or twelve feet away, watching my every move of course and poised for quick escape. A burst of flight. They know my car, a black Volvo wagon and follow for a block or two before I pull into my driveway, then they wait on the roof of my house to see if I’ve brought junk food leftovers. French fries are prized and also pasta.

One of them almost always hangs around, perched on a street light just across the street, keeping an eye on a crow feeder I made—an aluminum baking pan set in a wood frame on a pole some four feet off the ground. I should have made it higher by at least a foot. Dogs get into it sometimes.

Around Thanksgiving  gulls begin to come on shore to plunder. Usually the hang around the beach at Puget Sound, about a quarter mile away. They are of course a larger bird, but fewer in number and interesting in themselves if to a lesser extent. The fly in patterns, grids at high altitude, neat as a checker board and usually just one. When  spotting  something it calls to its mates and soon a few others arrive, perusing what I’ve left. There’s almost always a crow keeping an eye on the feeder and it also calls to its mates. An air war begins—fighters and bombers. Crows harass, give chase, but no real threat. Sometimes a band of crows can drive a gull or two away, but not far away—giving chase if a gull has found something to eat something too big to swallow quickly. Sometimes a hasty gulls in flight will drop their find.

About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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8 Responses to CROWS

  1. bnpeacock says:

    Bruce, Like your post on crows. We get a lot of them periodically in Manassas, Virginia. Hate to say it, but I bang on a pot to scare them away. Just too many at one time. Barbara Peacock

    Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 18:43:30 +0000 To:

  2. Love this Bruce, and the pics… I wrote a blog back in Jun or July about my birds – called it NOt birdbrained – birds are bright – did you see the experiments with parrots the other day, in which they concluded that parrots were brighter than two year old children?

  3. stutleytales says:

    Over here (Australia) crows are viewed with suspicion among the Aboriginal people. I know if there is 11 in a flock, that means someones going to die. I can’t remember the rest.
    Hey, Bruce… did you post a photo of your study all cleaned up? Or did I dream it? I had a bit of a look, but couldn’t see one. 🙂

  4. playsonideas says:

    I finally got around to visiting some blogs. You write beautifully. And I’ve long admired crows. My husband and I moved to Mexico some 15 years ago, expecting to semi-retire. Instead, life moved along and we wound up adopting a Mexican girl, now 14. Last year, after four years of struggle with various agencies in two countries, we got her into the U.S. Best wishes for the success of your move and whatever the future brings you.

  5. Bob says:

    Thanks for sharing your poetry. You always had a penchant for writing. Glad to be back in the loop. Hope you and Lu are well.

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