They started just as I began mucking out the pole barn. Not slowly, but all at once, the noise rowdy, raucous. The opposite of morning songbirds.
I put down my shovel l and listened as I do when I hear the coyotes barking and yipping in the hills and fields around the farmhouse at night. When the coyotes come, I leave the house and stand on the porch looking into the darkness until their cries and calls fade.
This morning I looked into the woods, the bare trees allowing me to see further, the snow a stark backdrop for the black birds.
I heard more crows than I could see. It was only their movement that gave them away. I saw just a few swing through the trees like monkeys. They dropped from the highest treetops, swooping and looping just as the wild grapevines grow up the trees. Then suddenly they would vanish.
Only their calls and cries told me they were still there.
As the noise started to fade I got back to my work. As soon as I did, it would start up again. I thought if they were circling it would account for the rise and fall of their chatter.
I don’t know what they were saying. If they were talking to each other or making their presence known to another animal.
Yesterday I saw an eagle fly over the farm. It was either an adult golden or maybe a young bald eagle. There was also a red-tailed hawk sitting in the trees that edge the pasture.
Whatever the crows were saying, I imagine any animal close by heard, and all but I, understood their message.
By the time I got back to the house, the crows had stopped. I don’t know if they were successful in their communications. But they made me pay attention and wonder.