Thursday, May 24, 2012

The eleventh luminous thing... crows!


Fish crow at Huntley Meadows, Virginia, by  Larry Meade

"...the Fish-Crow, always a little before sunset, seeks the interior high woods to repose in," wrote Alexander Wilson in American Ornithology in 1820. His fish crows were in North Carolina.

Here, they roost in the tops of the tulip poplars and oaks behind our house and across the street—the highest places in the neighborhood.

I listen to them in the mornings and at sunset, their voices often the first and last sounds I hear each day. I especially like their gruff, guttural conversations when the weather is closing in. In the dark, dank, wet air, in the stillness before storms, their calls take on a big, rolling quality, deep and echoey in the heavy air. They talk back and forth in a relaxed and casual way, sometimes stopping to fly over to a new tree nearby. They seem comfortable and familiar, and their voices wash over me like a chuckling lullaby.

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