There is little wonder that crows are very often the subjects of legends, folktales, and
storytelling traditions around the world. I make those remarks in light of the life I shared with Spirit over the
span of five years. He was keen of sight and hearing, and his other senses were no less acute. It is this
kind of sensitivity that makes crows and other corvids legendary birds.
The crow stories I have collected over the years exemplify the
intelligence and unique chartacter of these birds. For instance, Marilyn Burns of
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, relates that,
As I glanced out of my dining room window one day, I saw two
pheasants going head to head in an altercation. Hopping excitedly from side to side over the pheasants
was a crow. He was so like a referee working a boxing match, I had to laugh. Finally one pheasant dominated and
the other ran away. The crow flew to a nearby tree, and from the top most branch cawed the news for at least
Phyllis Gillis, from Orangeville, Ontario, recounted a story illustrating both the intelligence and
determination of crows. She writes,
Last June, my son decided to remove the hard top from his jeep
and replace it with a summer canvas top. As there was no place to store it, he left it out in the back
yard. This top has a hard roof and windows on three sides. The part that slides over the windshield is
Well, a few days later, two curious crows came to look at this
apparition. Looking through the windows, two crows reflected back at them. How excited they became -
cawing and flapping their wings as they pecked at their images! They kept at it for so long and with such noise
and excitment that we literally thought they would have a heart attack. Finally at dusk, they left.
On day two, they returned repeating yesterday's performance. But this time they had a new
plan. After the noisy greeting to their images, they raced inside the jeep top through the opening. They
stopped dead in their tracks when they saw no one there. You could almost see their confusion. With much cawing
and flapping they raced outside and ran around the top. When they stopped at the windows they could see "them"
again. How excited they were! So back inside they went and the whole process started again.
On day three they came up with another new plan. They flew quickly to the window - always
the same one as the sun didn't give their reflections in the others - and became so excited when they saw their
"friends" again. But this time, one raced inside while the other one stood guard at the window. Again the one
who raced inside saw no one there. So he raced outside to tell his pal. But this bird must have said, "you stay
out and I'll go in," for they changed places.
The opening is big enough that we could see what they were doing
inside, and their noise always let us know they were there, so we could race to our window and watch. So
bird number two ran in and after checking all the corners he went to the window to tell his friend who then
raced inside. Looking out the window they must have seen the reflections again, as they became very excited,
and with a lot of cawing and flapping of wings they raced outside again. Racing around the top, they came to
that window again, and behold their friends were inside. They raced around to the opening but no one was there!
I'm sure if they were human, they would have stopped and scratched their heads in