Murder in the Sky

This evening I stepped out the back door to feed the animals before tucking them in for the night, and I was met with an amazing sight: dozens upon dozens of crows flying over the back yard, swooping, squawking and following their ancient instincts to flock together before darkness settled the land. I stood watching, the gusts of wind blowing my hair, as the endless line of birds flew into the distance only to be replaced with more birds, coming from away.

This was not the first time I saw this number of crows fly over our property coming on dusk. It seems to be a regular occurrence these days. Two days ago while working at the new fence, my mind completely immersed in hitting the nail on the head and not my finger, I had looked up and saw the sky filled with the black birds.

They had come on so suddenly and so silently that they took me by surprise. I stopped my work and watched as the murder of crows flew past, onward to some unknown to me place.

I can only assume that the crow tree—the group of trees to which this murder flocks at night—is nearby. It must be new since I’ve seen the crows fly in the distance at dusk to some point far away, but never this close.

Some might think it an omen. Others might ignore the common birds. I think it is an amazing sight, one that reminds me of how smart crows really are, and how, after all these centuries, they still flock together.

Diane Lynn McGyver

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10 thoughts on “Murder in the Sky

  1. The group name for crows – a murder of – is no doubt archaic. Speaking of crows, etc., our crows leave and the ravens arrive, but neither are in the numbers they used to be. It may well be that the emissions released in the many many gasfields around here are either killing the birds or discouraging them from living here any more. People make tons of money…but oh, the cost. I bring that up as a lead in to a question – does anyone else experience the scarcity of birds in their area? I hope not.

    • Mae, you are probably right. If the air isn’t to their liking, the birds will not come. They probably feel it will kill them or threaten their reproduction cycle. I see the money vs environment argument all too often. Locally an Alberta company wants to dump tons of salt into our river to make way for huge caverns to hold natural gas. Money possible; bad for the environment yes. The area is fighting it. I hope they win. I’d rather be poor in a healthy ecosystem then rich in toxic waste. I can only hope that Nova Scotia keeps shutting their doors to people who want to rape the land. I’d rather be what they call a ‘has-been province’ because I want to live here my entire life.

      As for the birds: we have plenty where I live in central Nova Scotia. Plenty of the small birds (black-capped chickadees, blue jays, mourning doves, ect.) and big ones (Canadian geese, ducks and crows). And too many eagles for my liking. We stand guard with sticks when they fly over head and look down at our chickens. We also have to be careful when the goats are newborn. They’ll take off with them.

  2. I was always told that crows flying towards your home is ominous. On the other hand, you may want to check there is no remake of a Hitchcock thriller being remade nearby. 🙂

    • It wouldn’t surprise me to know a Hitchcock was being shot on that evening. They’ve flown by in smaller numbers since then, but I’m waiting for a repeat, hoping I have my camera near to snap a few pictures.

  3. Birds fly south for the winter as they say. However, until I lived in the south, I never would’ve believed the sights I saw. Imagine a two mile stretch of road, and every wire packed and stuffed with birds. The parking lots along the roads were just as crammed.
    It was always just like a scene out of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.

    • Gathered birds always intrigue me. I’ve seen huge flocks gather here as they prepare for their trip south. The one that impresses me most are the hundreds of Canadian Geese that flock to the harvested corn fields.

      As for the crows, this happens every evening in Nova Scotia, and I assume elsewhere. Crows simply flock to their crow tree. There’s one in Halifax and there are thousands of birds there every night. I learned of this only a few years ago. It’s quite a feeling to be standing near the crow tree at dusk.

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