Crow Days

Crows are birds who have no qualms about expressing their authentic voice.

Since early spring (September down here in southern Australia) I have had a family of crows living in the tall gum tree behind my house.

I first became aware of them when I noticed a crow parading around the garden with a twig in its mouth.  After a moment it flew off with it then shortly returned to get another.   When a second crow began doing the same thing I realised they were building a nest.

Over the next few weeks the crows became increasingly territorial.   One day I was painting  in my studio when a ruckus in the garden made me look out the window.   A crow had a neighbourhood cat bailed up on a fence top and was pecking at it with its beak.   The cat cowered in fear until it snatched a moment to make a quick getaway.  Crows immediately went up in my estimation for as a young teenager I know said “You have to admire any bird that can hold its own against a cat!”

In due course the baby crow arrived and the two adult birds were kept busy ferrying food to it.   At that stage the baby kept up a constant squawking.   Its parents were never very far away and often made re-assuring noises.

It was about then I began to realise that crows speak to each other in their own language.   They don’t always squawk raucously.  There are all kinds of subtle midtones and short abbreviated sounds that they use to communicate with each other.   The most annoying of these was when the baby grew larger enough to leave the nest but was not big enough to find its own food.   Every afternoon it would march up and down my yard crying piteously.   As the days went by it was left alone for longer and longer periods of time.

One evening the three birds perched on a branch overhanging my garden.   As I watched the mother regurgitated food for the baby while  Dad watched on protectively.  Poor mum didn’t get much of a break before the baby started crying again and nudging her for more food.

By December the baby was able to fend for itself and the din in the yard lessened.  The family still live in the gum tree and fly around my house chatting conversationally.  The baby often perches on the fence top and watches me as I work in the garden.


This intense involvement in the life of crows led me to look up their symbolic meaning in the book “Animal Dreaming” by Scott Alexander King.  He says that the crow symbolizes natural law and writes –

“Crow encourages us to seek the wisdom found in the inner silence and to ponder our actions and reactions to life…her appearance generally heralds a sudden but necessary change, a wakeup call or a lesson in self-discovery.

Crow demands that you listen to your instincts and act upon them in a way that honourably serves your purpose.”



13 thoughts on “Crow Days

  1. That’s a lovely story, beautifully observed.
    I agre with you… we have the habit of living inauthentically and, like any other habit, it can be hard to break free of that. Learning to value ourselves as we are, not as we think we should be, if the first step on that road.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Photo prompt round up – Crow #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

    1. Suzanne

      Yes, I’ve pondered whether the birds here are ravens or crows. They are probably Australian Little Ravens but I’m not 100% sure. I think the ravens are slightly bigger than the crows.


  3. What an absolutely mistressly braiding of three elements to make up this post. Your crow observations are superb, especially the discrimination between different voices. The design on your drum is crow, but also reminiscent of yin-yang symbol. The symbolism of crows couldn’t be more apt.

    I’m glad you’ve resolved the memoir dilemma. You kickstarted my thinking and I’ve got a few minis in mind.

    (As a crow admirer – and a writer – you might be interested in this


    1. Suzanne

      Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look. Yes the memoir writing idea does seem to be in the air at present. I’m actively pursuing it at present but am haven’t completely resolved the will I/won’t I question. I may return to the idea later in the year when I’ve cleared the decks from some long term projects I’m currently working on.


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