The Crows Four

Oh, Vineland and Magnolia. Where Magnolia trees grow, and where birds of all feathers come to perch, sometimes, and flit to a high branch for a better view. We live and die beneath their curious gaze. If people only looked up and around more often they’d catch them, and maybe next time be recognized. Did you know Los Angeles, CA is the ‘birdiest’ city in all the nation? It’s almost absurd, and for me, apt, APT! I say, to be involved with the sky community in the birdiest city in all the land.

It’s February 2020 and a new day has dawned. Agrippa the Horrible has grown into Agrippa the Young Adult. Daily air drops on the skylight and noisy agitated dogs fade into history and a relatively peaceful community has descended on our little corner of NoHo. I returned to LA in March of last year a broken woman. Agrippa et al watched me make a full recovery and even engage in a new temporary assignment in Burbank. A treat for them to fly with me along Hollywood Way every morning for the summer. On many occasion I walked to my parked car after work accompanied by them and a handful of 10 or so community crows. Of course, Henry tagged along and even cawed angrily outside the window of the classroom a few times.

Our street corner is in a state of physical change as well. The neighbor with the agitated dogs moved and construction of new condos underway. My crow family is settled into a routine of short visits to check on me through the day. King Henry’s feathers ruffled over the changes to his neighborhood. In the morning, as per usual, Agrippa follows me to my exercise class a few blocks away, and then again in the late afternoon he’ll drop by the apartment. Henry misses his doggy allies who have have moved on and with the noise of construction blocking his calls, he feels his power to irritate me slip away.

I’ve taken my avian brood on day car tips back over the hill to visit with family and friends. The parks we use to frequent, the Malibu Bluffs. Wayne and I still meet on Thursdays, and, on occasion, have our visit in a park they love. For them! I care about them, and want them to know our home life is what it is for now. King Henry is boss and we have to play by his rules. They don’t care. These crazy crow. They love it when I play piano. What is that about?! I had to move my piano into the office room since they make such a fuss when I sit down to practice. Even when I have my earphones in, they dart around outside the window to watch me bang away at the keys. They love that! Their attraction is still a complete mystery. They love to watch me draw and write in my journal too. I mean, is this crazy? Am I crazy? I know the construction workers have been scratching their heads and taking note of the black sky with every new floor they build.

But overall, life feels manageable. I’m enjoying the moment of serenity fully, and understand nothing in this life is permanent. My windows and blinds thrown open and the early spring desert breeze sighs my way. I’ve concluded writing is the only medium to capture these stories and the reason I never take any photos or video. I’m with them when they are with me and inviting technology to the party seems disingenuous.

This is a great story of a woman who pulls out porcupine quills from a squawking young raven. The bird is perched on the fence and lets her pull the damn quills out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlwxLtFQcrY . I love this video. The raven will remember her for life. I have the feeling this bird understands her life and lives in the trees near by perhaps. She has horses and a farm so I’m certain the animal watched her interaction with other animals.

I read a blog entry about crow ‘gift giving’. I have been given gifts by birds and crows. The best crow gift came when visiting family in Ontario one winter. I started talking to the crow community in Campbellford during my walks around the river. Yes. You think I would have learned my lesson with crow interaction here in LA. One afternoon while traveling to a neighboring town by car, my brother and I stopped into the shopping mall. We returned to the car and found a large, dead and dried beetle quite certainly dropped into the open sunroof of my brother’s car. I told my him at that very moment, and said “I knew they were following us”. And they do. Why not? Not much else going on beside the regular (unless it’s early spring when crows nest and breed) and it doesn’t take much.

This image is a drawing sketched in Malibu State Park. Crows not included.