A crow won’t be your friend. But you can still have a relationship with one.

I was inspired to write one of my first stories after witnessing a large group of crows gathering in the trees near downtown Minneapolis. It was the beginning of winter and I was riding the bus home each night from work, watching them meet in the same spot for a week. This behavior seemed like it “meant” something, so I logged into the Google to find out why they were doing it.

Soon I learned this group of crows had their own fanbase. They’d dubbed the gathering a “mega murder”. Right then, I thought, “There’s my title”. I still needed a story, but that could come later. It was time to dive into the interesting world of corvids.

If you already know a thing or two about crows, jays, ravens, etc., then you likely know how this story goes. You become obsessed. They’re highly intelligent, but more than that they’re humorous, playful, and each one comes with a personality as unique and identifiable as human beings are to one another.

Soon I’d reached that mildly anxious point where I had to jump out of research phase and into action phase. Would all these stories I’d read come true for me? Would my neighborhood’s crows recognize my face or my voice? Would they leave me gifts in return for food?

To make sure I didn’t default on my decision right away, I asked for a crow call for Christmas instead of buying one myself. Surprisingly, I got one. I used it for a while that winter with no results. Though it brought some crows to the yard, it seemed they were all a little wary about me.

I just told myself, This is the same reason people love cats, right?

This Spring, things took a turn. While out walking our dog, my wife Lauren and I would see crows near us in the trees. We threw our peanuts (always carry at least a pocketful) into the paved streets and walked away quickly. Not long after, the crow sailed down, checked things out, then flew off to a park with her new treat.

Eventually this crow told a friend (we’re thinking it was a mate) and soon we were “shelling out” peanuts to both every day. We named them Heckle and Jeckle after the cartoon (though they were magpies, a different corvid) even though we never knew who was who.

We’ve now got a family of six crows under our wing. They may not totally be our pals, but it’s still nice to know they recognize a friendly face when they see one.

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