A seasonal farewell to the crows

january sky 2014-01-13 bw

From this past January.

A spring arrives (finally), it's about that time the large flocks of crows that hang out in neighborhoods such as uptown Albany and other spots around the area go... well, wherever it is they go in the summer. The flocks are regarded as nuisances -- see the USDA trucks that shoot noisemakers at them -- but over the last few winters we've come to appreciate them as chatty winter-time neighbors, a sign of life during the cold months.

Anyway, this is all a long of way saying that as the crowds of crows head off to wherever they're going for the season, we enjoyed this clip about the birds from a long ago David Quammen piece:

Crows are bored. They suffer from being too intelligent for their station in life. Respectable evolutionary success is simply not, for these brainy and complex birds, enough. They are dissatisfied with the narrow goals and horizons of that tired old Darwinian struggle. On the lookout for a new challenge. See them there, lined up conspiratorially along a fence rail or a high wire, shoulder to shoulder, alert, self-contained, missing nothing. Feeling discreetly thwarted. Waiting, like an ambitious understudy, for their break. Dolphins and whales and chimpanzees get all the fawning publicity, great fuss made over their near-human intelligence. But don't be fooled. Crows are not stupid. Far from it. They are merely underachievers. They are bored.

That clip is via Smithsonian mag, which had a post this week pointing out that crows understand water displacement.

As the crows leave and the ice melts, the Canada geese have returned. And they're rather rude. We'd take the crows over the geese any day.

Earlier on AOA: a few more items about crows

Comments

Thank you for this.

Yep. We were ceaselessly honked at by the new geese arrivals while crossing the Indian Pond bridge this morning. I wonder if the crows who normally torture our dog have passed along a message for the geese to do the same.

I have some parting words for the crows but will deliver it in person with a shaking fist. While your commenting policy doesn't explicitly mention profanity I will exercise restraint here.

Fond of crow of observation as they see everything going on. Notice they have a loose order of who goes first and will banter about whatever is left for them as they come down for a feasting. Some whine away with the utter futility of their dismal state of salvaging scraps from above the ice and snow, others wise from insight hang out aloft beading there eyes on the human tramping that mostly ignores them. Seems fitting to compare them to restless bikers making a good time confronting case after case of delight in each others foiled experience, slapping high fives when food hits the palate, even though 40 ton trucks are shwooshing past the shoulder of the highway they are parked on. Crows will clean our bones when our sinister plans have all failed to save us.

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