A Murder…of Crows

I do believe I was visited by a Murder of Crows. There were close to one hundred birds congregated in our newly cut hay field.

I don’t remember when I learned that a group of crows is called a “murder” but the assembly of large, black birds in the field made me look up the history of this off-putting moniker. My favorite reference that I found was on BIG-think.com which distilled it down to:

Crows are omnivorous scavengers and will eat just about anything — insects, seeds, fruits, eggs, and small animals. Historically, they would often appear on battlefields, in cemeteries, and after disasters to snack on the tasty carrion we humans left lying around……This association with death led people to believe crows portended disaster. The all-black feathers probably didn’t help.


I happen to have an extreme adoration for crows. They are incredibly clever birds with a highly developed social order. When I was a child, a crow landed in our backyard and drank the dripping water from a lawn sprinkler for several hours. He was clearly in a very bad way and was revitalized by the access to the water that came without threat – even though he was lying on the ground. There after, he befriended us to the point of eventually clanging a small metal pan on our kitchen window so that my mother would feed him breakfast! He would join me and my sisters for a picnic lunch on the lawn and even perched on our shoulders and head – more so with me as I enjoyed the experience and I’m not so sure my sisters were as smitten with the bird.

Around here, I occasionally see a few crows flying across the property to eventually land at the very top of a mature tree. I usually hear them before I see them, as their cawing is quite distinctive, and they often vocalize while in flight. In autumn they will congregate in larger flocks and make quite a bit of noise. But, I can never get close to take a decent photo. Even at close to eighty feet up at the top of a massive tree, they take off before I can get within 400 yards.

I was happy to shoot a few pictures of the murder of crows that visited here. I’m quite certain there was something in the newly cut hay that attracted them – perhaps, a large number of insects that are normally unavailable in the longer grass. Regardless of why they showed up, I hope they will come back soon!

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