Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mr Wise bird- crow

The wise bird

Like many others watching birds is a preoccupation with me, though I’m not a very scientific bird could say its more of idle speculation on why they flick their tails, when they do, why they are so restless, why they cock their heads on a particular side and look so wise, etc. Amidst all this speculation one bird that never fails to catch my imagination is the crow. Of course much has been written about the crow and many studies conducted about them and their smartness.

Crows are perhaps the only variety of birds that have observed humans and learnt from them. In many such idle speculation that I talked about, I’ve conducted experiments with these birds..I observed that they love walking sideways, when they are trying to be clever and sneak up to something and when they walk straight you’ll often find them walking in a way as if they had a very heavy boot on their feet. It’s my guess that they are gauging the ground beneath their feet.

You’ll find that the crow speculates a lot too. I once threw a stone a crow sitting high on a electric wire, though my aim wasn’t too bad and it might have hit the bird.. I watched fascinated as the smug guy cocked his to a side and watched the entire journey of the stone, and when the stone dropped on the ground without touching even a feather, I could almost hear a distinct sigh and shuffling of feet that said ‘better luck next time’.. I laughed so hard that day that the mighty bird descended from its lofty position and walked sideways just to see what I was up to.

This brings us to the fact that the crow is not only one of the most curious bird but also one of the most courageous. Its natural instinct for sensing danger saves it in most such situations. Your attempts at trying to shoo away the crow, will only make them move at a distance just where you can’t catch them and yet near enough to irritate you.

Like many other things, the crow has a bit of a history attached to it too. Many of you might recollect days when grandmas would shoo away a crow from the house threshold, while it was cawing, because the cawing of a crow is supposed to bring bad news. This story of course goes back to many many years back when the crow hadn’t as yet been discovered by RK laxman or been given the status of smart bird that it has today.

The story goes as such that the common black crow that we see today was originally white in colour. The setting of the story takes you to Greece where, the daughter of Phlegyes, Coronis had become pregnant by Apollo. Just before child birth Apollo left his pregnant lady in what he though was the able watch of a white crow. In a sudden turn of events, just before giving birth, Coronis suddenly married Ischys, to whom she had taken a fancy. This information was relayed by the crow to Apollo. As is the case of many messengers through history, Apollo incensed at the deceit and the news blackened the white crow into black, for bringing bad news. It is of course a different matter that he also killed both Coronis and Ischys.

What seems to have been embedded in history retains its flavour till today. Most people don’t entertain the crow with any sense of happiness like they do for sparrows or pigeons. But then smart movers were always eyed with suspicion and austerity, and yet for all its smartness it is perhaps the only bird that warms the eggs of another. Birding would never be as much fun if it weren’t for this smart cookie!

© 2011 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Pic courtsey Google images


SUB said...

great post...interesting history...its human beings biased perception of beauty that makes some people hate them...

agree, crows are wonderful creatures...they are smart and what i like the most about them is their talked about them learning from humans, unity is one thing we can learn from them...because of their mental strength and unity, even eagles fear them...

ashwini said...

Lovely writing.Its the small things in life which teach you a lot of things.All of us should take time off and observe other animals besides ourselves for a change!We can learn a lot! Thank you for the lovely story of the crow turning black!

pRasad said...

In one word - Interesting ! :)

your post made me think- 'hey! come I have never thought about this ' :))

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

yeah its fun isn't it ..thanks for reading all of you :)


Good post... got many info abt crow. Sumit Roy Chowdhury.

KalpanaS said...

Interesting to read your post on the humble crow and the Grecian legend.
I have just written a post which
includes a reference to 'Kaka Bhusande' in the text Yoga Vasistha

A bird of high intelligence!