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Crow Talk

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    [JUSTIFY]I open the window in the morning to the loud cawing outside. I look out and see a gleaming black specimen outside. I sit looking at it wondering what it is going to get upto. I can't seem to leave them alone, like they can't seem to leave me or my plants alone. What's more they can't take "no" for a reply. When I tell them I haven't put those plants out there for them to have a go at, all they do is stare back defiantly and get argumentative. Well, I am not about to enter into an argument into crows. Who knows which ancestor has decided to pay me a visit and what an offended ancestor could do to an erring, inhospitable descendant?

    My mind wanders to various "crow" facts ..... or fiction and myths. I think back to some of the most amazing videos about crows that I have been watching. A phrase pops into my mind unbidden - "eat crow"!

    When was the last time you ate crow? No, no, I am not asking when you last ate a crow - as if I would even dare to suggest that you ever ate one. It is just an expression - a slang, meaning when did you have to eat your words (no, your words are not crows - even so), lose face over something, have to eat humble pie?

    What have crows got to do with words and pies? Well search me. (I searched Google!)

    Coming to crows and pies, who can forget "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie" in "sing a song of sixpence"?

    We seem to have a love-hate relationship with crows. We just can't ignore them though. Ha! As if they would let us! :-D Right from childhood we are intrigued by them, hear stories about crows and watch them with utmost fascination. As adults we develop a strange relationship with them. On one end we treat them with fearful deference as they convey the spirits of our ancestors and condescend to eat the food meant for them. We need their help everyday to keep the young ones entertained! On the other hand, we cannot stop making derisive remarks e.g. when referring to someone derisively as being a "kala kaua" - (BAD TASTE I would say - very insulting to man and beast, sorry, bird!) or eating crow when we talk of facing humiliation in terms of having to take back our words about anything or when "stone the crows" as an expression of surprise (e.g. "Stone a crow! He actually became PM!"). Why such violence towards crows? Contempt breeds contempt and violence, violence. I am not surprised when the smart crows never forget a person whom they hate and attack him/her every time they see the person. Why is a boastful person accused about "crowing about something"?

    Even when describing something straightforward (and mercifully emotionally neutral) such as the straight distance between place A and place B, we cannot forget crows. We watch "how the crow flies" - why could it not have been a hawk or eagle or sparrow? Why only crows?

    Someone or something that is completely useless is referred to derisively as "crow bait". "He was a very hardworking person, but now he is just crow bait".

    Well, now after going on about crows, in the cause of crows for so long, I am as "hoarse as a crow".

    Having made a case for the crows I am going back to my perch by the window to watch some more of them in action. At this rate, I shall soon be crow bait. BUT not before giving you a link of a very interesting video about crows! :-D[/JUSTIFY]
     
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  2. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Is that what all that Cawing led to Satchi? They are indeed very interesting creatures. When I moved here long ago, I used to wonder about how few crows are here - infact it was none! But I do see some may be just a couple of them every now and then, sometimes and now after you speak of ancestors paying a visit, I am wondering about it and then wiki tells me "Crows are believed to have evolved in central Asia and radiated out into North America, Africa, Europe, and Australia." Did they migrate with the migrating population? Even better did one of my ancestors chose to come closer to me?

    Here's another freakily interseting article on crows -
    6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think | Cracked.com though the only place I think they are fooled are when they raise those cuckoo babies or on second thoughts, may be being our ancestors, it their good heart that lets them raise and allow the cuckoos to think they are smarter! How cuckoo are those cuckoos?

    Now you have put ideas in my head and I am going to explore more, more than what you have already presented here.
     
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  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Sabitha, this was the article I referred to when I spoke on vengeful attacks! I have read this one before. It is absolutely fascinating and simultaneously terrifying. Just check this one about puzzle solving crows out.
     
  4. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchitananda,

    Wonderful snippet on crows!Leave alone the old Pancha tantra stories now modified to depict cow as an intelligent species.No longer will the crow caw with vadai in its mouth. It has become smart enough to hide it in his paws.
    It is not easy to do " crow catching'- to get things done by clinging to someone.

    Crows have proved to be smarter and wiser than mankind.

    Researchers tied a piece of meat to a string, and then tied that string to a stick. The crows all stood on the stick, grabbed the string, dragged it up, held it with their foot, and repeated the action until they could reach the meat.


    When some food is kept in a little basket, crows are capable of bending the available small wire into a hook and drag the basket.

    In our country, crows are seen as representing communistic principles of sharing. But present day crows are opportunists.


    when crows have food they want to stash, they always keep an eye out for other crows. If another is watching, the crow will pretend to hide the food in their cache, when in reality, they're stashing it in their chest feathers. The watching crows follow the hiding crows, because they know that sometimes they pull a bait and switch themselves. This has led to a spiraling thief/counter-thief arms race.

    Very strange indeed - crows memorize the pattern of traffic lights to optimize the exact moment people drop the nuts, but also to make sure they only retrieve them when the light is red and the crosswalk sign is on, so they don't get run over. This is a skill that that even 10% of the human population has not mastered.

    Quick quiz: What day of the week do the garbage men come to your block? What day do they service the next block over? And the one after that? And after that? Some people are interested in knowing these things. This must be a proud moment for Them. But they need not get too excited, because it also means that they just been outscored on a test by a bird: Crows have been known to memorize the patterns of garbage trucks so they can get easy access to the sweet, sweet waste contained within. They know they don't have the strength to open the cans, but also that the sanitation workers who open the cans for them inevitably leave some trash behind, so the crows simply memorize a driver's schedule, then follow the trucks to pick out anything tasty. That is why the crows exactly arrive at the time we keep rice on the balcony.

    Crows can recognise human faces, to a frightening degree.When seven masked men tried to catch the crows,the crows were able to recognise those 7 men out of hundreds of people wearing masks and went murder crazy on those 7 men only,recognising their eyes.

    All that cawing isn't just noise; they're talking to one another, and doing so in a very advanced fashion.


    So, not only do they recognize us as individuals, but they have the means to describe us in detail to one another, even across generations. You know what that means: If you've ever meddled with a crow, even if it was just the one time, decades ago, his children might be out there right now, plotting bloody revenge against us.
    That is why perhaps crows are represented as our ancestors.



    The communication network among crows is so wide that the crows still remember specific houses where one resides. Who knows they even pass on the addresses to the future generations.

    Two years back my husband had a visible lump of a small lemon size,on his head.It did not disappear with ointments and medications and it was a nuisance. Doctors did not advise surgical removal as he was a brain injury patient.One day as he was performing Surya namaskaram near the well, a crow was found to be just wandering over his head for a few mts and it did not leave him notwith standing so many shoutings and Choo-choo drivings. Next morning at the same time the crow sat over his head and within two seconds it plucked away the lump and flew away.The lump didn't reappear.The black surgeon has done a magic.
    Bharathi saw Krishna's black beauty in Crow's feathers.
    Kaakkai siraginile nanda lala-un
    kariya niram thonruthaiye nanda lala"
    Modern scientists see lot of Lord Krishna's strategies( Chaaturyam) also in crows.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  5. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Satchi

    Crows have been having bad press in western countries for long. In Disney comics and movies, when the scene shifts to the habitat of witches, they have a couple of crows perched here and there in the dark scenery for that evil effect. Naturally, kids weaned on such diet end up equating the dear birds with everything base and rotten. Even the collective noun imposed on them by english language ( " a Murder of crows " ) is so unfair.
    Poor , poor Corvus !


    In this part of the world though, they are given some honour i would say. They are the chosen couriers for dear departed ancestors, nothing less ! And it is a Crow that is the vehicle of the much feared and much propitiated Shani Bhagwan. It is in our culture to offer a handful of rice to crows first, before the family eats. ( Though some uncharitable jokers interpret this to be a subtle test to see if the food is " deadly" or safe to eat . ) I remember, mothers used to sing a tamil song " kaka kaka mai kondaa " ( "oh crow, please bring us kajal ) to little kids, intimating that the birds are like dear friends , to be loved and protected and not stoned .


    All that aside, i have always loved watching crows . I got taken up with them after seeing the wonderful sketches by R.K.Laxman . They really are fascinating birds. And , as much research has proved, immensely clever too. They are adept at fashioning and using " tools", a talent far ahead of their position in the animal kingdom. No " bird brain" here !
    If you have noticed, their feathers are not jet black. Sun light scatters in blue, green and purple reflections on them sometimes.


    Crow watching will not make crow bait out of you. If anything , it will make you more appreciative of " all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful " If that is'nt life enriching , what is ?
    You have company here in your pursuit, Satch !hugsmiley

    Enjoyed reading .
     
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  6. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    interesting . Well i will eat crow, bcs i never knew an interesting blog could be written about crows as u have done.
    in jaipur, i crave to see a crow, once a year or so, i am lucky to see one. For i am used to seeing so many from my mumbai days. They have great stories there.Granny used to first keep food aside for crow, and then eat. Crows have set habits. And tastes. The crow that likes roti will go that house opnly at the invited time, when they make rotis, and wait patiently to be served first opr last does not matter.

    My brother would eat boiled eggs, in mumbai and trhow out the yellow, and the crows would wait to catch it.Once he did not eat eggs he was sick, and they barged in the house and created a ruckus at which mom get angry at brother, and that was the last time the chap shared anything with the crows, literally had to eat crow.

    i read , that however ugly and a nuisance they are, they have one good quality that we human can learn from, that is, they share with other pals, they will call out, to share the loot, they wont eat alone, alas we aer just the oppositite.

    Regards

    kamal
     
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  7. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Ma'am,

    Sorry for the delay in replying. Refurbishing work crawling along at home.

    Really interesting crow facts. I am amazed at this one that you have mentioned. Wonder what that was all about!
     
  8. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey Manju,

    That was a lovely FB with interesting crow stories! :-D Amazing, isn't it, how attitudes to the same creature differ the world over? I did see some videos, though, where people keep crows and ravens as pets! I guess this diversity is precisely what makes the world such an interesting place to live in.
     
  9. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Kamalji, crows can be quite intimidating, but this was just too much - invading the kitchen in search of egg yellow! Sometimes the most interesting and fascinating qualities of animals become the most annoying and scary too.
     
  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    How many superstitions we used to hear in India? Crow cawing is always associated with guests coming home. If one or more crows come to the house and eat rice, dhal and ghee, we used to assume we satisfied our ancestors. When one excessively appreciates another for personal gains, he or she is blamed using a terminology "catching crows".

    Unfortunately, we don't even get to see crows here. But no one shows up here unannounced either. The ancestors are only in the form of photographs. There is no shortfall of adjectives when one appreciates another for personal gains here as well but I am not sure what they call it here.

    Viswa
     
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