One of the first times I went down to the Daley homestead elms to see if I could get pictures of the warblers, I ran into Jerry Goldner with his amazing lens. You can check out his fantastic photos on his “Profiles of Nature” flickr page here.
I had been down earlier that morning on my weekly foray of the parks at dawn and had somehow managed to not unload all the hot dogs to the crows. The crows were too busy forming a “murder” which is the rather derogatory, scary name for a congregation or flock of them.
I counted roughly 40 crows flying over at one point, taking into account that ten years ago it was all I could do to find two or three. I was moved by the site of so many crows and feeling somewhat responsible for their comeback, but their carrying on seemed to have little to do with my presence, unless they were showing off to me their strength in numbers.
Not wanting to leave the hot dogs, which I always store in used quart yogurt containers, in the office refrigerator, I was eager to distribute them to their intended recipients when I went on my lunch break (I can hear those unaware of my crow connection, if there are any such people left on the planet, talking now: “She always eats so healthy, I can’t believe she’s secretly eating hot dogs!”). So when the crows started following me around and making noise while Jerry and I were trying to see the warbler action, I did something I’ve never done before. And will probably always live to regret. I walked away from the action toward the south end of the park and called “C’mon Crows!” And wouldn’t you know, they followed me immediately as if they had been waiting for this day their entire lives.
The downside of bringing the crows back from the brink is that as they increase in numbers, it gets harder to train them, if you will, to be quiet and tread lightly while I’m stalking migrant visitors.
At least I got rid of the hot dogs that day, which is usually not a problem…
when earlier that day, the first crows of dawn met me on the bridge that goes over the train tracks between Michigan and Columbus avenues…
Best to let my body language dictate the protocol, I guess. I did manage to get a few crows to follow me around slowly and quietly Friday afternoon, much like this pensive crow.
And soon as the migrants are gone, the crows will have me all to themselves again, to spoil them rotten with treats throughout the winter cold.
I know I will too, especially when I come back from my vacation (which is barely two and a half weeks away), tropical birds in my head, but guilt over leaving my crows and pride over the expected greeting they will give me upon my return.