So Many Crows


I saw between Merricat and Liam after my walk as they were sunning themselves and chewing their cud.

I meant to go for a walk in the woods, but for most of the time I was out, I stood still looking up.

I’d never seen so many crows.

First I heard them.  Then I looked up.  They circled round and round high over my head, first a few then more and more.  They just kept coming, adding to the moving circle.  Then some started flying off and coming back again, like a choreographed dance.

One crow called repeatedly from a fixed location. I could hear it loudly as if it were close by. The others, the ones flying overhead were making sounds I’d never heard crows make before. I could only think that they must have been talking to each other, each call with its own meaning, each bird recognizable as an individual.

I heard the hawk even before the crows while I was still walking.

But it was only toward the end, when the crows started dispersing that I saw not one, but two hawks.  Probably the same ones who were flying unusually low over the barnyard the day before. The sun lit up the white feathers on the underside of the hawks, as they lazily dodged the crows through the bright blue sky.

Maybe the crow’s dance was a show of power, of multitudes.  It certainly impressed me.

Once the hawks were gone from view the crows started fading away.  The repeated call stopped and the circling crows grew quiet and dropped out of the circle a little at a time.

Back at the farm I sat with the sheep as they chewed their cud.  And in the distance I could hear the familiar sound of two crows calling to each other. So unlike the talking I heard in the woods.

I do wonder how far all those crows came to help chase the hawks away. If that was what was happening. And, I wonder, why I don’t see so many crows together more often.

It made me feel like what I saw was not meant for my eyes and ears.  Like I witnessed something I wasn’t supposed to.

I took this video after watching the crows for a while and they were starting to disperse.  If you listen closely you can hear some of the sounds they were making.


17 thoughts on “So Many Crows

  1. Crows are really fascinating to study. Incredibly smart and their interaction with each other is worth a study in itself

    1. For sure KJ. I’ve read and heard so many interesting things about how smart they are. I ways say hello the the crows at the farm because I know they know me.

  2. Crows will always chase a hawk, that’s why I love them it keeps my chickens safe. The sparrows and other small birds chase the crows. I enjoy watching the sky to see who’s chasing who.

  3. I get enormous flocks of crows — hundreds of them — usually early in the morning. It’s like a murmuration of starlings, except of crows. And frequently when I look up, I see a Cooper’s or Red-Tailed or Zone-Tailed Hawk in one of my trees. It’s like the crows are broadcasting a PSA to all the rabbits and other critters. Other times the whole world seems to go completely silent — and it’s because there’s a hawk circling and everyone else is hiding. Those hawks are like guided missiles when they’re hunting — one nearly took my head off the other day chasing a bird. But they are glorious creatures.

    1. Wow Jill, that must be amazing to see. They do seem to be drawn together like that because of the predator birds. Wild that the hawk came so close to you!

  4. The crows gather in large numbers in the winter to keep each other warm during the cold season. Its so magical to see them like this.

  5. Why do starlings get called a “murmuration” while crows are a “mob” or a “murder” and ravens are a “conspiracy”? Strikes me as a little racist.

    1. It does say a lot about the people who came up with these terms doesn’t it Jill. A conspiracy of ravens is right up there with a murder of crows.

  6. Every once in a while we are privileged to see something special. I was at Big Bend Texas camping during a very windy day and experienced vultures playing. There were hundreds riding the currents at different heights, gliding sideways in different directions across the sky. Play is the only word for their actions. I have changed my feelings about vultures after seeing that.

    1. Ah! That’s wonderful Barbara. I love that your seeing the Vultures in this way changed how you feel about them. Makes me wonder all we don’t see about the animals aournd us. it sounds like a magical event to have witnessed. makes me smile reading it. So thanks!

  7. A large group of crows is actually called a ‘Murder’ not a mob. They circle in the upward thermals from the land to save energy. Probably feels great after your low temps and storms. Corvid family is the smartest in the bird world.
    🙂 Wendy in NorCal

    1. I’ve heard of a murder of crows Wendy, Interesting about the circling upward on the thermals It does look like they were doing that. I’ve also read that this kind of thing, where they are chasing a hawk away is called a mob. I love all the different terminaolgoy. It’s fascinating!

  8. Down at the beach in the late winter/early spring the Ravens make musical sounds which we call Swahili for lack of a better description. It seems to be the show off/mating time. Crows and the whole corvid family are very dear to all in my family so we pay special attention to them. Loved your description, video and sound!
    ~Anne on the coast of British Columbia~

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