For the love of crows – part one.

“If people wore feathers and wings, very few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”
— Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century preacher/writer

A while back, The Ogre and I went looking for a murder of crows. I wrote a post about it. In the comments, my friend Mark (from Mark My Words) told me he hates crows. Mystified, I challenged him to write a post about why and – in exchange – promised to clarify why I love them. The time has come for those posts to go up. His is here: When Jerry Met Harry (but about half-way down.)

Random reasons behind my love of these birds –

1) Crows are smartmischievous, GORGEOUS, sociable and, yes, a bit creepy.

2) Edgar Allen Poe. The Raven is still the only poem that I have (at least partially) memorized. (I know crows and ravens are not the same thing, but this post is about what ignited my passion, right? Besides, I do not live in the Great North Woods of Minnesota, and there are few if any raven in the central part of the state. Love the one you’re with, I say.)

3) Back in the day, when Tripod pages were everywhere and there was no such thing as a “blog”, I created a sprawling *website  called Lizzy Crowe – A Witch Takes Flight.

Aside: I’ll be honest – I’m sort of a religion-dabbler. I started life as a baptized Lutheran, but we never practiced while I was growing up. In my late teens, I became involved in my friends’ youth group and eventually formally converted to Catholicism. In my 20’s, after a brief marriage and subsequent divorce, I became a witch. Now I’m a Lutheran-Catholic-Wiccan-Unitarian-Universalist, but I guess you could say I’m just spiritually inclined.

So, anyway, back on topic. When I chose the web as a receptacle for my personal grimoire, it seemed wisest to not use my real name on the great big, scary internet AND it was common practice for a new-age witch to take a magickal name. I chose ‘Lizzy’ because of the song Lizzy and the Rainmaker and ‘Crowe’ for no other reason than it felt and sounded right.

This was one of the icons on my site.

This was one of the icons on my site.

4) Several months into my obsessive study of the craft, and after I had named myself and my website, I was driving around in the middle of the night. (I did that a lot back then.) I came across a young crow hopping about in the puddle of light from a street lamp. I knew it was weird, and was at first concerned that he was sick or injured. I pulled over and cautiously approached him. He fluttered his wings a little and tilted his head at me … until I got too near. Then he hopped just out of my reach. I sat quietly, to see if he’d come close to me. He did, but never quite close enough for me to touch.

He was a beautiful bird – glossy, well-plumed, sturdy-looking and large. His eyes were sapphire blue. (I later learned that crows are hatched with blue eyes which eventually turn black.) We spent the better part of an hour on that deserted street, flirting with each other. I was able to see there was nothing wrong with him, and decided he was merely newly fledged and confused. I assume he came to the same conclusions about me.

As if I haven’t confessed enough in this post already, I will admit that I still regret not trying harder to catch him and bring him home. If I had carried back then what I carry now – leather gloves and a big towel – I might still have a crow companion now. (They can live more than 15 years in captivity.) 

But that would have been definitely illegal, and probably wrong, so it’s a good thing this happened before I trained as a raptor / wildlife rescuer.

As it was, I lost my nerve whenever I thought about the quick and potentially damaging lunge I would have to make in order to grab him. (The impressive length of his beak as it glinted in the dim light was a little off-putting too.) Eventually, I bid him a frustrated and reluctant farewell and drove away.

I went back, about an hour later – determined to try again, but he was gone.

I have at least one more crow story to tell,  but it’s 2:00 in the morning, I’m tired, and I have to work later today. So let’s pretend I was planning a two-parter all along, ‘kay?

*Dark Touchstones was created as an off-shoot of Lizzy Crowe. I brought that content here, and it can be found among my tabs. If you’re bored one day, and in a paranormal mood, have a look.  There are lots of fun links to follow.


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.