If you doubt the season is changing (how it comes all of a sudden!) just look up. The crows have returned in a raucous black cloud. And sure as eggs is eggs, they are out for the main chance.
At morning feeding I found this evidence of thievery. Without wings of its own, there is no way an empty chicken egg can come to the yard in front of the barn.
After the evidence came to light, I watched for a while from the window. Sure enough, here came a crow to sit on the top end of the hay elevator and look things over. Hmm. Nothing more? Nests empty? Too bad.
And yet, there is something about them that makes a person’s imagination run. To watch them harry a hawk in the air is to cheer for them both — the hawk for being picked on, and the crows as protectors of their neighborhood. To hear them arrive all in a flapping murder of self-announcement and settlement into the treetops is to admire their party instinct. To find the remains of their pillage is to, grudgingly, acknowledge an intelligence that challenges our own. We confound them with ravens, who make us shudder just a bit as we whisper in our minds, “Nevermore.” We say “crow’s nest,” and think of pirates on the bounding main. Scarecrow? It doesn’t work, but it brings folklore into the garden, and a slight creeping of the skin.
When I was a child, an old woman down the road had a captive crow. To call it captive really does not describe it, though. The crow had frequent free flights over the garden and the woods behind the house. When we would invade those woods for little girl explorations and imaginations, the crow would circle overhead and announce hoarsely, “Robber! Robber!”
He should talk.