Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Crow

Crows are amazing animals: they're intelligent, vocal, and able to adapt to a wide variety of habitats. Indeed, they're found all across the country, living in forests, farmland, and urban areas. Crows are one of my favorite birds, and they are extremely prevalent in Ann Arbor. At dusk, they will congregate, flocking to roost for the night in certain areas of the city, the most infamous being Forest Hill Cemetery. A few months ago, Steph and I drove to the cemetery and arrived right at sunset, as crows were streaming in from all different directions. They landed on the bare branches of the oaks and hickories, looking like large, moving leaves. Most notable was the noise they made. The sound of a couple thousand crows is an interesting one: certain individuals are louder and croakier than others, and when disturbed, the noise is not unlike a dull roar.

On Thursday, my father found a dead crow resting at the base of a spruce tree; today, I photographed it. Photographing a jet-black bird against white snow proved to be a challenge, but luckily, the sky was overcast. It began to snow, and the result was a sprinkling of bright-white snowflakes against soft, black feathers. The effect was rather attractive.

December Crow IV

December Crow III

Crows, to me, seem fearless: they are brash, cocky, and inquisitive. They eat whatever they can, and will torment hawks and other birds of prey. That is why this next photograph is so interesting to me: instead of appearing indestructible and fearless, this crow looks vulnerable and delicate.

December Crow II

For further reading on crows, I highly, highly recommend Lyanda Lynn Haupt's Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness.


  1. I think Ann Arbor's winter crow population often ranks in the top 10 nationally for the Christmas bird count.