This morning I was taking my oldest daughter to school (a task I shall not do much longer for she nears the coveted driver’s license) and we saw several crows on the road and I slowed down to let them fly away. I don’t know why I slowed down. I should have just sped up to run them over. When I was a boy growing up on the farm family policy was to shoot on sight any crow we came across because they pecked watermelons in the field and destroyed entire corn crops. I have killed many of the black winged vermin. They were mortal enemies.
As we drove by the crows this morning my daughter said, “Stupid birds!”
I corrected her. They are not stupid. They are devious smart. I told her of a study I heard once about crows and their habits here in the Pacific Northwest. One of the indicators of their intelligence is the way they eat. An ornithologist noted that seagulls and crows will take shell fish and drop them on the sidewalk to crack them. But some shellfish do not crack open on sidewalk, and dropping them higher doesn’t always work either. But the crow, smarter than the seagull, has learned to actually drop the shellfish on a roadway and wait for a car to run over it.
My daughter said, “Oh yea. Once I was out with a friend and we noticed that two crows were walking on the road and they actually stopped and looked both ways before crossing the street.
Smart. Very Smart.
I heard one bird expert talking about the way crows watch humans. If you think about it, you know it is right. Crows will land and sit on power cords, trees, and streetlights and just watch people. The expert said that this is a learned, hereditary trait that comes from thousands of years of watching humans battle each other. Crows are scavenger birds and one of their delights is to pick the dead after a battle. The bird expert said when that bird is watching you from the power line it is not doing so out of curiosity. It is waiting to see if you suddenly die or if someone suddenly attacks and kills you; leaving behind a snack.
Evil—evil those crows.
This got me to thinking. Poe was onto something in The Raven. Forget Planet of the Apes, the real problem we need to worry about is Planet of the Crows. In 10,000 years they might be running the place. Imagine human beings being forced to live beneath a black, crow filled sky—the squawking, the evil glares, and their devious smart mechanisms for making humans serve their needs—peeling their shellfish, building their poles and nests, and growing watermelons for them to peck. We should start saving up bullets for the resistance now.