As the crow flies: “In a direct line. Without any detours caused by following a road.”
Having lived in a city for over a year, I’ve come to detest this idiom and believe that the crows Charles Dickens wrote about and the ones frequenting my neighborhood are of a completely different species. There is nothing direct about the way my neighborhood crows travel., The line graph of a volatile stock would depict the crow’s zig-zagging trajectory more accurately .
Working from home, I’ve had to rearrange my schedule like the rest of you. I truly miss seeing my coworkers in person, but I’ve been making the best out of this “new normal.” My commute on the city bus is now only a roll out of bed, I have my own dedicated fridge space, and the second story view from my room allows me to pleasantly patrol the neighborhood from my window.
There was one recurring task I hadn’t accounted for: the one that didn’t show up in my Google calendar, and wasn’t Slacked over by my supervisor. It is the regular window side meetings from my neighborhood crow.
This crow hops, but not to gain momentum. It hops, swoops, and crashes from one surface to the next from telephone line to trash can, landing with thuds and talons outstretched, in search of whatever food it can find.
From my research, I’ve concluded that the same crow who visits me daily is a male and I’ve started calling him Grover.
Crows in populated areas have survived by being extra cautious, and at any sign of danger, they flap away frantically like a sunbather who’s unexpectedly been thrown in a pool.
Because of their scavenger nature and this gawky way of movement, the city crow is written off as a pest. This, along with the fact that they will eat pretty much anything, drops them tiers lower than their esteemed relative – the raven.
An Uncertain Start to Friendship
It started when I was eating Cheez-Its and spotted the crow in a nearby tree. I opened the window and threw two square snacks onto the roof overhanging the porch.
Within three minutes, the crow flew over. Cautiously side hopping, one eye on me and one on the prize, it stacked both Cheez-Its in its beak and swooped off to the telephone wire to enjoy the snack.
It stared at me while cracking the Cheez-Its in its beak, crumbs falling to the ground below. I stared back, Cheez-It crumbs also falling from my wide open mouth.
Since then, the feedings have become a ritual, and Grover regularly lands on the ledge ready for food. He has even started eating the food right there on the roof. I believe he trusts me.
Since I eat most meals at my desk, Grover has come to eat beef pad see ew, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and vegan chocolate cake that my roommate’s girlfriend made for my birthday. It’s an interesting way to reflect on my own diet.
Not a Murder In Sight
You’d think that with the way he hollers, more crows would be showing up by my window, but I think Grover’s figured out he can keep his meals to himself by keeping quiet about his source.
Despite all the Hollywood hype, crows aren’t actually scary. They’re very intelligent creatures who can develop emotional bonds with people. A fascinating study by a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington revealed that crows can not only recognize faces, but also pass on their distaste of someone’s looks to their family and surrounding murder. This goes the same for their affliction towards humans as well.
Although I’m not holding my breath for Grover to bring me my rent in coins, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to develop a relationship like the child who exchanges snacks for shiny gifts with her neighborhood crows.
We’re all going slightly mad, but don’t write me off as a complete psycho. I’m not allowed to have pets at my house, and while I don’t want to cuddle this crow, it’s nice to have another being nearby while cooped up in my room. Despite the fact that he’s probably just waiting for his next meal, feeding Grover is a small bright spot during this shitstorm of isolation and uncertainty.