April 2, 2013 in Features

The Slice: They’re always crowing about something

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Get to know your crow.
(Full-size photo)

Ever been outside and hear a crow caw down at you in a way suggesting that the bird is actually speaking to you?

Sure. We all have. It’s a part of living here.

But what are those big black birds trying to tell us?

To find that out, with the help of a translator, The Slice interviewed an outspoken local crow.

You won’t believe what he had to say.

Q: What’s with all the cawing? What are you guys saying?

A: It varies. Sometimes it’s “Got any spare carrion?”

Q: Oh, I thought it might be advice. No, huh?

A: Well, sometimes it is. We’ve been known to say “That color doesn’t work on you” or “Your hair looks like rejected nesting material.”

Q: Anything else?

A: Oh, sure. Corvids enjoy critiquing yard work and gardening. We sometimes note how quickly people’s kids are growing up. And now and then we ask homeowners how long they plan to wait before replacing the roof.

Q: Do you ever talk about Spokane with feathered relatives from, say, Montana or British Columbia?

A: Oh, yes. Personally, I tell them Spokane’s biggest problem is that half the human residents don’t seem to realize what a good place this is. And the other half spends all its time looking for things to steal. For us crows, one complaint is that not enough backyard grillers leave cheeseburgers out unattended.

Q: Do you birds understand us when we talk back to you?

A: You mean, is it like that “Far Side” about how what dogs actually hear is “Blah blah blah, Ginger”? No, we know what you are saying. It’s just that, usually, it isn’t very interesting. Here’s a tip: As questions go, “Whatcha doin’ up there?” isn’t really all that engaging.

Q: What’s the deal when a whole bunch of crows gather in one yard?

A: Occasionally, even in Spokane, there are false reports of Tippi Hedren sightings.

Q: Do crows ever say something nice to humans?

A: Sure. Just the other day I complimented a little girl on her new bike.

Q: Thanks for your time.

A: Sure. Don’t forget to friend me on Beakbook.

Today’s Slice question: What gag did you fall for on Monday?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Some people never stopped wearing short sleeves.


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