A Different Contagion…

You could have held the tight little nest in your cupped hands. The mother bird had chosen a potted cedar on our back deck for safety. We’d been out of town for a month when I discovered the bowl of fine twigs with four tiny eggs in the bottom close to the cedar’s trunk. Almost simultaneously, I understood why a group of crows is called a murder. Dozens of them were lurking in the trees behind me, as intent on living up to their collective name as I was in keeping them at bay. War was in the air.

Determined to protect it, I rotated the cedar and moved the pot closer to the house. I checked the nest as often as I could and watched as the mother flitted in and out – never away for long. As the week went on, whenever I showed up the crows squawked loudly, hopping from branch to branch, and preparing to attack.

Three days later, on Monday, two of the eggs were broken and empty. The crows were menacing, poised for more action. By Friday only fragments of cracked eggshells remained, but the war wasn’t over. Each time I stepped out on the deck the crows swarmed and cawed aggressively. They made aerial passes. and when I left the house by the front door they followed me and continued their swooping attacks. 

A month later, they were still following me as I crossed the parking lot on my way to the pool, pitching and plummeting in near miss passes that had me ducking. When I got to the pool gate and discovered I had left the key behind, they followed me back.

That was the day they identified my car, my black Jeep Cherokee, and that night, as I slept, the black bombers dropped more than 30 gobs of crow shit on the hood and windshield. Bad blood. Bad juju. You killed my unborn chicks. Fucked with me. Fucked with my car. This is war.

I bought two books about crows and watched a two-part documentary on YouTube, but the message was clear, Jack, you’ll never win this war. Crows are too smart, too crafty, and endowed with the uncanny ability to recognize and retain facial features. Nature’s facial recognition software. I told myself it was time to get over it. Not easy. I hate to lose.

This was all before Covid-19. Back then I had an enemy I could see and hear, but I can’t go out on the deck and swing a broom at Covid-19. It’s invisible…and much more deadly than the crows.

It took almost a year to escape the wrath of the crows and their dive bombing raids. They, like Donald Trump, have long memories and like him they’re vengeful. Neither Trump nor the crows ever forget a slight. I fought the crows for a year, but I’ve been fighting Donald Trump for almost four.

We have to know the enemy, be patient, trust the scientists, and follow their instructions. If do those things, and marshal our resources, develop a plan, and assign a capable leader to the task, we can conquer the Covid-19 contagion. And if we listen to our better angels and get out the vote in November we should be able to stop Donald Trump and his team of ignoramuses from dumping on us?


  1. John Marzluff at the UDub is the local crow expert. You might try reading his stuff. He did his graduate work with Bernd Heinrich, a superb writer and researcher on crows, ravens (worth reading his “Mind of the Raven”) and much else.

    Heinrich’s life story is even more interesting – growing up in Germany as the war was ending, the family fleeing west to where the Americans were advancing so women of the family wouldn’t t be raped by Russians, then after the war living deep in the forest, while the father (who had been in the German army) traveled the world obtaining rare animals for zoos, museums, private collectors. Heinrich eventually became a record breaking marathoner by studying how antelopes run (is that cool?)

  2. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *