I am intensely aware of crows at the minute. They are building nests balancing huge sticks and branches (disproportionate to their bodies similar to the way my dog likes to carry sticks) in their inflexible beaks. I have been able to distinguish the different calls made and am beginning to recognise the subtle differences between the species as more obvious.
Many crows and rooks hang out the back of my school where they turn up like clock-work after meal times. Today there were more than usual. Presumably the news had got out throughout the local bird community that there had been a food fight at lunchtime in the pitch.
This weekend in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, the garden in which I sat in seemed to be en route from A to B for a serious amount of birds. It was a rare opportunity to catch brief close views of a range of birds. At this close range it is possible to recognise the amazing individuality of the crows’ beaks. Some are shockingly rough and damaged looking.
One day I picked up a dead hooded crow from the roadside. My housemate assisted me in chopping off the interesting and less fleshy parts – feet, wings, head. I left the head outside in the hope that the elements might clean it a bit for me. It has since disappeared.
The above crow is from a park in Amsterdam; a lone crow amongst a load of ducks and geese.