Seattle Memories – The Crows

                   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 things I’ve noticed since being retired is that I have more time to notice things. There’s never as much time as I thought there would be, but enough. I’m sitting on the front porch this fine, blue sky, Monday morning, watching crows, a murder of them—eight. A family. This is their neighborhood, they own it, it’s their turf, and air space. I have put a feeder at the edge of  our front yard for them. 

ImageBy mid November,  gulls get hungry and fly in from Puget Sound.  A lead gull flies a scanning grid of parallel paths – airborne geometry, serene high flight, an interesting thing to watch. They never miss a feeder contribution, and when such is spotted there’s a screech that brings the other members of its group. Then there’s an air war, with the crows, like fighters, against gulls, the bombers. Gulls most often win, but they are sometimes driven off by crows with higher numbers.


Since I have been observing crows, they’ve been observing me. They know my car, 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 crow usually hangs around to keep an eye on the feeder while perched on top a lamp post just across the street.

Such interesting birds. Some people are against them. They rob smaller bird’s nests when they find them, eat the young. I cringe while watching them patrol the fence in my back yard, scanning our evergreens for nests. Not nice, but all of us kill something to survive. A Buddhist monk’s remark: “We are all food, and the eaters of food.” All of us part of earth’s biota*


I am quid-pro-crow. They fascinate me, so damn smart—and cautious. After years of being fed, the older ones now to dare to stand their ground as close as twelve or fifteen  feet away. They watch my every move, of course,  poised for a quick escape, a burst of flight. Their mortal enemies are owls and hawks. Crows mass and chase the owls away in daytime, swirling cloud of twenty birds or more. But later on, at night, the owl returns to deftly pluck a sleeping crow from off of its branch.


I miss my family of crows. Though there are crows in Sweden, I don’t see them very often. Seems they’ve been replaced by magpies that look very much like crows dressed in tuxedos.  Doubt we’ll ever have a close relationship–don’t speak their language.


A well dressed magpie

* Biota: The total collection of organisms of a geographic region or a time period, from local geographic scales and instantaneous temporal scales all the way up to whole-planet and whole-timescale spatiotemporal scales. (Wikipedia)


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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5 Responses to Seattle Memories – The Crows

  1. I’m with you on the crows Bruce… I’ve read lots about how intelligent they are,have amazing memories and do things like grieving when they lose one of the family…..
    Magpies rob nests too !!!!.

  2. Gyslaine L. says:

    In France, we also have a lot of crows and magpies, enemies of farmers. Have a good Sunday 🙂

  3. I like that, quid-pro-crow. Many people don’t like crows yet they perform their part of the life cycle. We used to have a family live in a tree near the house for a couple of years, they never missed a thing. Some mornings they’d come and peck on the windows to make sure you were up. They also love cat biscuits. XD

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