Posted by: Green Knight | November 23, 2011


A couple of days ago I was taking a hike at dusk to the tobacconist’s (yes, I smoke Dunhills, we are all works in progress, sue me), and I saw something I hadn’t seen in about 3 years.  West Nile virus swept through local bird populations starting in 2003   and wiped out lots of my totem avian, the crow.  What’s cool is that they have bounced back!  When I used to live a couple of miles north of my current location, and would hike to my teaching job and back, there would be hundreds of them flying NNW in the early morning and back south in the late afternoon, in time with my walking to and from the office. That became a rarity after the virus decimated the population.  I knew where they were going, but I never figured out where they went back at night to roost.  But now they’re back!!! and perhaps I can figure it out now, with a generous grant from some government program that isn’t broke yet.

But the other night there were maybe 300, following the old flight path.  It did my heart good to see them back in force.

Some communities don’t like crows, and try to scare them off with cannons or other bizarre techniques.  Personally, I like hearing a plethora of harsh caws in the morning.  They are some of the smartest birds on the planet.  I like ravens even more, but you don’t see them that often.  Bernd Heinrich’s book Mind of the Raven is a good place to start if you are interested in avian intelligence.  If you have cats, as I do, it’s fun to tease them with all the corvid bird calls on here:  It drives them nuts!

not sure where I found this, but it’s cool.  My totem tree is the ash, but we had a birch in the back yard when I was a kid, so it’s OK.





  1. Bob:

    We had the same decimation of crows around here about two years ago. I guess that there was resistance in the population because because as you have noticed they are coming back slowly. Around here they roost each evening in a river bottom.

  2. Glad they’re coming back in your area, Dr. Jim! If there’s anything to reincarnation, I want to come back as a crow.

  3. Around U. City they only come back around during the winter. I just started hearing them again a couple of weeks ago but it’s been years since I heard them during the summer. I always assumed that the survivors moved to the country during the summer where they might be a bit more isolated and safer from West Nile. And come back in the winter, why? More food and some of the city birds have moved south? Don’t really know but winter is the only time I see them and fairly small flocks instead of hundreds in one tree.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Bob!
    Here is the link to a blog I wrote about crow medicine, thought you’d dig it:

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