What kind of day is a five crow day? Today, five crows were the only birds I saw. They flew past this morning as I said goodbye to my inlaws outside in the driveway. The rest of the day I spent inside with the kids, recovering from the overstimulation of the holidays.
Most "real" birders probably wouldn't consider five crows a notable sighting. Crows are common. You could see five crows without even trying (like I did today). There is nothing sporty about finding five crows. Nothing worth noting at all.
Except when you start to wonder about those crows. Most likely, a group of five crows is a family group--probably two parents and their young. This time of year, the family group may consist of young from this year as well as a couple older young birds from last year--birds spending their last few months with the family before heading out to find their own territories.
Whether I know it or not, there is something going on with those five crows...they have a history, one that continues each day when they awake. The adults will probably spend the rest of their lives in short flying distance of my driveway. I may see them from time to time and just note two crows, three crows, or even five crows. My life may intersect with them at odd points in time as I happen to be in the yard as they fly by.
For most of us, these five crows could well symbolize our relationship with birds. Distant. Impersonal. We see them, and note them. Or not. But we really don't know them.
The sighting of five crows is an indictment. An admission that I don't know my local crows. A friend at work knows her crows. She can call them and they will come. She feeds them. Talks to them. Knows where they go and where they spend the night.
But for me, I merely note that five crows flew across the road and through the trees behind the row of townhomes on the other side of the street. They called...or at least one of them called...but I don't know what it was calling for.
Five crows. Living an ancient crow lifestyle amidst 21st Century humans and their technology. Knowing their business perhaps better than we know theirs. And for all I know, we may be less anonymous to them, than they are to me. Perhaps they know me as the guy who leaves early each morning in the red Mazda Protege, often returning after the sun has gone down.
Many of us barely know our human neighbors, let alone our neighborhood crows. But I, for one, vow to do better. To know my crows. And to be known by them as more than a passing figure in their life.