That Time I Thought I Could Converse with the Crows

It’s kind of true. I go for an early morning walk roughly the same time every day. For a month or so now when I get to a certain point on that walk, I come across this crow sitting on top of a huge mound of dirt. Since I have nothing better to do, I talk to it. “Hey there. What’s up? You going to warn me if an earthquake is coming?”

Sometimes it just stares at me like I’m an idiot. Sometimes it cocks its little crow head. (…Like I’m an idiot.)

I walk on.

crow talking

This had been going on for awhile, and he wasn’t there all the time — like once every four or five walks. And no real conversation had taken place yet either. But I’m nothing if not an aspiring optimist. So I kept trying.

Then one day I was actually talking on Skype with a friend when I passed the dirt mountain. Despite the fact I was prattling away and had earbuds in, I heard this loud cawing nearby. I popped out an earbud and to my surprise the crow was sitting there, bobbing his head, and making a fuss.

I was so excited! He’s talking to me!

My interpretation: He was upset because I hadn’t given him proper morning greetings that day.

Suffice it to say, it was from that day onward that I was convinced I could converse with crows. Or I could with some practice. It would take time. But him and I? We had a connection!

Now fast forward to yesterday. I was walking my walk, but my regular crow was absent. No hurt feelings here. He’s got a life, too. But farther along I spotted three crows hanging out by some rice fields and a small stream. I did what anyone would do in that situation. I stopped a little distance away and started chatting them up. “Hey, I see there are three of you. Friends? Come here often?”

To my surprise they all seem really interested in what I had to say. I mean, they weren’t flying away. So I kept talking, letting them know I get them. I understand. Meanwhile,  the whole time I’m thinking holy cow (!) I’m really doing this. I’m like the crow whisperer or something!

I step closer, closer. They’re still not flying away. They’re still hugely interested in what I’m saying. Now I’m thinking I’m some kind of crow linguist savant. Maybe I can write a book. Or star in a TV show. Something pu tout by National Geographic or the Animal Channel.

Talk. Talk. Talk.

Step. Step. Step.

This could be my THING!

Just when my conversation is getting a little more complex, and I’m trying to explain the Brexit vote to them and why they should be worried, I take one more step. I’m right up on them.

They caw and hop-fly a little distance away. What did I say? Come on?

Then I see why they were so reluctant to leave in the first place. Why they put up with my inane chattering.


*Warning: Photo of dead aquatic animal below.*

eel shadow

Yup. Someone had (maybe them?) caught an eel and tossed it up on to that concrete thing. It wasn’t necessarily my witty banter that kept them from fleeing. It was a delicious breakfast.


Which made me sad and then made me remember my original crow, the one that hangs out on the dirt mound. Maybe he’s really not into me. Maybe it’s not into my winning personality or my sparkling charm at all. Maybe there are just a whole bunch of juicy worms buried in that humongous dirt mountain, and he’s just guarding them … from me.

But I’m nothing if not an aspiring optimist, so I remember that day he called out to me when I passed without addressing him. That happened! Maybe it’s not that I *can’t* converse with crows. It’s just I’m getting the vocabulary wrong. I’m still convinced he was trying to tell me something. Perhaps it wasn’t, “Hey, you didn’t say hi this morning.” It could have been, “Big juicy worm! RIGHT HERE! You should see this!”

So not a real conversation…yet. But I’ll take it. It’s a start.

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