I read on the front page of the Chicago Tribune last week that West Nile Virus will be very bad this year. Already, 28% of the crow population is down from the fatal bird disease. This saddens me very much. Crows are one of my favorite birds. I know many get the heebie jeebies from them because they are stereotyped as evil, eye plucking scavengers or the harbingers of death and doom. In reality, they are extremely intelligent birds–some say even smarter than the owl, who is usually thought of as being so smart, they sport a mortar board as part of their daily
dress. Crows don’t represent death…it’s all mythological. They are just really beautiful, sleek, shiny black birds with a brain.
In my business, Hootin Annies, crows are one of the things I love to create. I have several patterns for crows and I haven’t tired of them at all.
Here are some facts about crows you may not have known:
- They mate for life.
- They can be taught to say words.
- They warn each other of impending danger with their complex ‘cawing’ language
- They have a sense of humor.
The American crow is very susceptible to the West Nile virus, a disease just recently introduced in North America. American crows usually die within one week of acquiring the disease with only very few surviving exposure. Crows are so affected by the disease that their deaths are now serving as an indicator of the West Nile Virus’ activity in an area.
I will miss seeing my feathered friends roosting in my willow tree and standing proud, cawing loudly atop my neighbor’s roof peak. I don’t know why, I love them just ‘be-caws’.
Farewell, my crow friends. Fly free.
Photo credit Adam Romanowicz