Crows, Rap stars of the bird world

by Ken Carpenter

I have always had an affinity for crows, those brash, sassy leaders of the feathered society. And no, this society has nothing to do with the Hollywood starlets who appear in public wearing no more than six strategically placed sparrow feathers.
I admit, crows can be the fly in your soup at times. They will sit in a tree and hooraw you with the natural ability of a carnival shill, then cackle victoriously when you lose your cool and shake a fist at them.
When walking they jive like Eminem, lacking only a mini boombox to fill out their hip-hop façade. They are as cool as a fool in an Arctic swimming pool.
It is not their fault that nagging comes so natural to them. They must be frustrated to be trapped in a one-pound body, reduced to eating garbage, when their brains are more fully developed than many humans.
I suppose, on second thought, being smarter than a human is no great feat. We all know people who could lose a battle of wits with an Armenian garden slug.
Regardless, crows are one of the few creatures in the world that can use tools. I swear I saw one trying to remove my license plates with a screwdriver yesterday.
Maybe I’m mistaken; he may have just been tap tap tapping. Oh yeah, that was his Peeping-Tom cousin, Raven.
Crows like conferences even more than humans do. Last summer I passed a gathering of about 100 of them, milling around swapping road kill stories.
They all looked happy, grinning their sly crow grins as they yakked their way from group to group. A few were off by themselves, probably the chronic gripers of the bunch. Even a bird gets tired of listening to complaints.
When I was a kid my cousin found a young crow in the woods that was obviously lost and alone. He left it with us to care for until it was able to fly off and find the family.
Exercising our creative ability, we named it Crowboy. Looking back, I think Hiram or Jacko would have given him more personality, but Crowboy he became.
I still don’t know why we decided it was a boy. Crows, indeed, birds in general, aren’t exactly sporting any plumbing that can clue you in as to their sex. We wanted a boy, so a boy he became.
To begin with, he was primarily interested in giving us a taste of the point of his beak. We didn’t hold it against him, and in no time he was eating out of our hand.
I decided to show off by walking down the street with Crowboy on my shoulder. In short order I heard cheerful sniggling coming from my siblings, who had discovered that the only thing I was showing off was a runny white crow dropping down my back.
After that a large towel became my loose bowelled companion’s perch. Thanks to the towel I did not suffer any further crow-induced indignities.
Sadly, Crowboy was murdered in his cage by some neighborhood wretch who was wise enough not to brag about it later.
We missed him, and I will always remember the intelligent gleam in his eye when he looked at me.
Because of him I will always like crows, even the ones who nag at me
Except for the one who flew off with my golf ball after the only semi-decent drive of my life.
Some things just can’t be forgiven.

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