Thursday, March 29, 2007

Let me tell you a little bit about crows...

Some Points...

1. Crows are very smart. Excerpt from article on crows in Japan:

The scene: a traffic light crossing on a university campus in Japan [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]. Carrion crows and humans line up patiently, waiting for the traffic to halt.
When the lights change, the birds hop in front of the cars and place walnuts, which they picked from the adjoining trees, on the road. After the lights turn green again, the birds fly away and vehicles drive over the nuts, cracking them open. Finally, when it’s time to cross again, the crows join the pedestrians and pick up their meal.
If the cars miss the nuts, the birds sometimes hop back and put them somewhere else on the road. Or they sit on electricity wires and drop them in front of vehicles.
Biologists already knew the corvid family–it includes crows, ravens, rooks, magpies and jackdaws–to be among the smartest of all birds. But this remarkable piece of behavior–it features in the final program of “Life of Birds”–would seem to be a particularly acute demonstration of bird intelligence.
The crows in Japan have only been cracking nuts this way since about 1990. They have since been seen doing it in California. Researchers believe they probably noticed cars driving over nuts fallen from a walnut tree overhanging a road. The crows already knew about dropping clams from a height on the seashore to break them open, but found this did not work for walnuts because of their soft green outer shell.

2. They are growing. Courtesy of Paul.

Excerpts taken from here:

Hey, what is it with these huge crows, people? Is this a symptom of Global Warming that Al Gore didn't warn us about? I don't recall the crows of my childhood being this large. Two more years of growth and they'll be carrying off dogs and small children. I'll try to get some photos of them one of these days but take my word for it. These are big damn crows. Since I got skinnier, I'm starting to get worried. The birds in your yard should not weigh more than you do.

I'm getting e-mails from bird lovers and experts responding to my message of earlier this morning about how the crows in my neighborhood are getting frighteningly large. Several folks want to know if maybe these are ravens, instead.

No, they are crows. Huge crows. Crows of awesome, worrisome height and girth. Crows that if they get much larger will be able to grab up a full-sized man in their beaks and snap him in two like a Rold-Gold pretzel stick. Crows that could crush the roof of your car if they were to merely alight on it. I don't even want to think about what might happen if you parked under a crow that big. One good dump and they'd have to send in St. Bernards to find you.
And every time I see the crows, they're bigger than they were the last time I saw them. Soon, they will be the size of Graf Zeppelins and then, by God, maybe you people will listen to me.

I am not a paranoid person. I don't spend much time worrying about natural disasters or the economy or terrorism or even the administration of George W. Bush, who's making all those things worse by the moment. I rarely imagine doom lies ahead. Just look at some of the jobs I've taken voluntarily when a more apprehensive man might have imagined what could happen.
But I tell you: I'm deeply, deeply worried about the crows. And also by the fact that people love Dancing With the Stars. Somehow, that threatens our well-being, too.

I've been telling you people about the Monster Crows that I've been seeing in my area lately. Some of those birds must be three or four hundred pounds and every so often, I see them cracking open a Mazda the same way normal-sized birds break into peanuts. Here, thanks to my pal Dana Gabbard, is an article
about the crows. It doesn't mention anything about how huge they're getting but I understand that's because no one wants to alarm the population.

3. Wikipedia says that they will eat anything.

Extremely versatile in its feeding, it will take food from the ground [ off a bicycle] or in trees. They feed on a wide range of items and will attempt to feed on anything appearing edible, alive or dead, plant or animal [including Quiana]. It is also one of the most persistent species and is quite bold, especially in urban areas [like Tokyo, or GASP Seattle]. It is well known for its regular habit of killing domestic chickens [WTF], more so than any other species of Crow. In Japan, feral crows [????!!!!!!!!!!!] are considered to be a pest for ripping open garbage bags and taking wire coat hangers for their nests.

4. I know the god damn difference between a crow and a raven-- (FUN FACT) even though they are the same word in Japanese 'karasu.' Which I believe means 'black bird which can fuck you up.'

5. Japanese crows carry the uber-disease that will wipe us all out. Article on the bird flu carrying crows.

Interesting/creepy note in the article:

An executive who worked for the company that owned the infected chicken farm has committed suicide with his wife, said the police. People had complained that he had not reported the chicken deaths immediately. His name was Asada Nosan.

6. The problem is so bad (30,000 crows in Tokyo) that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government established a crow management project team in 2001 and launched a comprehensive campaign against the birds.

Article on cyclists being attacked by crows and having accidents. Helpful hint- this is what happened to me....

7. They live everywhere and attacks are on the rise.

8. They are well known anti-Semites.

And I'm spent.


Cymberleah said...

All that, and I still like crows.

I am such a freak. And no, I'm not goth. I just like smart birds.

qtilla said...

This reminds me of Anne of Green Gables (because I am a dork). I would rather have an animal that could create a fantastic plan to kill me and could actually carry through, but WOULDN'T.