A Murder of Crows

A group of crows is called a ‘murder‘. The crows that come to our neighbourhood have been slipped the schedule for garbage pickup. These annoying critters can demolish a bag of garbage as slick as any dog or cat. They must have a sense of smell as they hone in on the best of the smorgasbord and rip apart the bags, dragging their favourites out and littering the lawns.

This week the murder of crows provided me with an afternoon of entertainment. The recycle of choice this week was plastic and I don’t know if the crows found this particular treat in a blue box or from a torn garbage bag. Wherever it came from they were delighted with a plastic clam shell that still harboured a morsel of food. Now this clam shell must have been a super one as many times I have been handling one of these plastic carriers and had it pop open and spill the contents but this one was not giving up its contents easily.

I watched a lone crow toss the plastic shell around on the street; turning it over and over. Finally he tossed it on the nearby lawn. He would pick it up and shake it repeatedly. Occasionally one of his buddies would saunter over and attempt to assist or steal the treat; not sure what his motive was. Like dogs around a dish of food the first crow would move around the shell pushing his friend aside. His buddies flew up to the top of the street light and taunted him with loud raucous caws.

A few of the other crows wandered around the lawn and would approach the owner of the shell and observe carefully, hoping he would become tired of the challenge and leave it for them. The first crow turned the shell around, picking it up by the edge, dropping it and circling it, tipping his head looking for a weak spot.

I became tired watching this production and returned to my book. From somewhere nearby I heard a pecking sound, not unlike a woodpecker looking for bugs in a tree. Looking up, I saw that the crow was now pecking the top of the shell. He must have a headache and sore beak today as he hammered away for at least a half hour. Finally he and the other members of the murder flew off to find easier pickings.

I resumed reading, enjoying the warm, early fall weather. Once more I heard the pecking sound and realized that the murder of crows had returned and attacked the clam shell again. Pecking, tossing, and shaking the shell was now shared by three other crows, but the shell was not giving up its treasure. These silly crows could have found other treats along the street but they were determined to not be beaten by this well constructed piece of plastic.

My afternoon of reading and crow watching ended when the sun receded and the cool fall temperature chased me inside. This morning I found that the shell was no longer on the neighbours lawn. I don’t know if the murder of crows carried it off to some place where they had tougher tools to tackle the project or if the homeowner came home and removed it from their lawn. No fear crows; this clam shell could show up in next weeks garbage and you can start the process over.


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