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.