Paranormal day 16,717: missing crows, Neil Gaiman and a dead goldfish in the snow.

Yesterday, I spent the day out and about with the Ogre.  We hoped to photograph a murder of crows. Our local news did a story in January about the Hitchcockian numbers of birds gathering in the city, but didn’t specify exactly where they were flocking. It took me a while to puzzle out the location, then it turned bitterly cold, then my mother got sick, then I got sick, then  POOF! It was March. When Ogre and I ventured out Sunday, we knew we might fail to find an impressive flock – because the season for big murders is coming to an end – but a raging spring fever forced us off the sofa and out the door toward Loring Park, in Minneapolis.

This is the ONE photograph I took there:

Loring Park is full of ridiculously tame squirrels who beg for treats. We didn't know to bring some, but someone else had scattered popcorn. Apparently squirrels LIKE popcorn.

Loring Park is full of ridiculously tame squirrels who beg for treats. We didn’t know to bring food, but someone else had scattered popcorn.

We saw not a single crow anywhere near the park. In hindsight, that makes perfect sense. I believe that the birds go to the city for the same reasons young humans do:

  • to stay up late (in the perpetual gloaming of the city lights)
  • to be loud and rowdy with others of their own kind
  • and, most importantly, to hook up with a hot crow of the opposite sex.

Obviously, then, the party probably wouldn’t really get rolling until late-day.

I like to think the crows were out  scavenging junk-food when we went looking for them. According to, the birds enjoy any food that a teenage boy would enjoy. Think of all the pizza and fried food scraps in dumpsters and garbage cans throughout in the city! (Plus, they like dog and cat kibble, which is good for the omnivorous birds. Of course I will now start carrying a container of kibble with me, because I adore crows, and the idea of sitting on a park bench, surrounded by the glossy black creatures is impossibly appealing.) Perhaps the murder has already broken up and abandoned the park, now that the time to find nesting sites in the suburbs is nigh.

In any case, there were no crows for us to see, feed or photograph. Luckily, a local bird authority – The Birdchick – has a piece up here, which documents the phenomenon, along with some good pictures.

Aaaand life is freakishly weird.

I was just reading random pages at the Birdchick blog and discovered that this particular birder has a personal relationship with Neil-F-‘ng-Gaiman. Apparently she watches birds in his yard. And she didn’t know who he was when she met him.

**blink, blink**

I wasn’t going to post the only other picture I took yesterday, but tonight’s post has taken a turn for the surreal, so I may as well. Before Ogre and I left for our photographic safari, I walked the dog along the front of our apartment building. We came to this:

goldfish in the snow

It was a good four or five inches long, including tail fins. There was no other aquarium detritus near. I’m still trying to figure out the story that ends with a dead goldfish in the snow.


17 Comments on “Paranormal day 16,717: missing crows, Neil Gaiman and a dead goldfish in the snow.”

  1. Nice story. I find Crows to be very shy and weary of us humans but you would think you would see a few. The Goldfish in the snow is just plain weird…

  2. You adore crows? Awesome. As for me, I’d prefer to murder crows. Not a murder OF crows…I literally want to murder crows. They drive me nuts!

  3. mistylayne says:

    Neil Gaiman!!! ❤ Also I kind of love that picture of the fish. I feel bad for the fish though. And am also interested in finding out how Mr. Fishie wound up there…

  4. Diana says:

    I like crows, too. But probably only because we really don’t get many of them here. So I like the *idea* of crows. You know, since I don’t actually have to deal with them.

    One time, when I was a young teen, my boyfriend bought me one of those Betta fish + house plant vase things as a gift. Christmas, V-Day, B-Day, something. Anyway, a couple months later we broke up and in a fit of rage he took the vase with him. It was winter and on the way to his car he threw the vase in a snow bank in the yard. I ran out and tried to find the fish, but to no avail, gathered the vase and plant and took them back inside. I wonder now if the fish would have shown up something like this as that snow bank melted in the spring… had I been looking.

    Did you know you can freeze goldfish and they don’t die? Fifth grade science project, if I remember correctly. You have to be careful not to rub their scales off when you’re submerging them in the ice though. Apparently that, *will* kill them. Or so said our teachers at the time.

    A bunch of randomness here, all to say I’ve been missing you on FB, but am glad to see you’re well. 🙂

    • Hello, Sweet Diana. I know I’ve been ignoring you — I’m a little paralyzed (in a good way) by the very first prompt in your Reach class. It’s been busy around here and now I’m faced with an identity crisis on top of the mundane demands of work & family. (It’s not just your social media class – something about my age/stage is bothering me as well. Your fish stories are tapping into that too. You do challenge me.)

      Anyway. I’ve got one more day of work/life madness, then I intend to settle in and catch up on blogs, FB, cleaning AND – most importantly – the class.

      If anyone happens to read this comment, and wants to know what I’m talking about, see Diana’s fantastic class offering here:

  5. Hunter Shea says:

    All I can say is, what the hell????

  6. Ray Yanek says:

    Yeah, the thing with the goldfish does have me weirded out a little bit, but in a good way, of course. Also, as a high school teen-ager, I could appreciate the connection you draw between crows and teen-agers. If fits…definitely!

    I’m not really a big fan of crows myself, but I’ve always been fascinated by the term “murder of crows”. Always wanted to research why the term is murder, now maybe I’ll finally go and do it!

    • And by “high school teen-ager” you mean high school teacher, right? I was really confused there for a minute. Or are you fondly remembering your teen-ager-hood?

      I never spent much time in the cities until I started dating my now-husband. We were in our early 20s, but the principal is the same, I think. I have to admit, our recent outing tapped into some young-love sense memories. I found myself questioning him about his motives for an action he took 20+ years ago. He was thrilled 😛

  7. […] of my favorite blogs belongs to Renae Rude–The Paranormalist. Her site is beautiful and creepy, elegant and atmospheric.  She writes about (among other things) […]

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