Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Leadville, ‘O Top of It All!
After living in the Cloud City for 25 years, I have developed an affection for the crow. Or at the very least, an appreciation for its loyalty, hanging around through the long, cold, snowy winters. After all, most of the other fine-feathered friends fly off to warmer climates.
In the stark, white backdrop of winter, these majestic black birds seem regal, even if you’re likely to find the murderous group hovering over bags of strewn garbage, when left to their own devices. Still, I love the crow, or raven, or rook or whatever you may chose to call them.
However, I recently learned something about this unique species of bird that deepened my admiration: they have the ability for human facial recognition. That’s right, these Leadville winged warriors have the ability to distinguish among human faces, they can recognize us, even after many months of separation.
For me, this fact was eye opening, and certainly began to explain some of the behavior that reigns high atop the poplar trees in my yard. These crows have had a lot to say anytime I’m out in my yard, and now, I know it’s true; they are talking to me!
However, it’s this communication among the birds, transmitting information from generation to generation, deciphering who to avoid and who to seek out, that speaks to its survival. Scientists believe that this ability gives crows an evolutionary edge.
Therefore, if you’ve ever heard a crow give a “Caw-Caw” when it sees you, that’s his way of saying hello . . . .or quite possibly his way of letting his friends and family know that you are the little boy who throw rocks at them – so be kind to our fine-feathered friends!
While fascinating, it leaves me somewhat remorseful that I don’t know the language of the crow, that I cannot decipher one “Caw” from another. Maybe one day. In the meantime, here’s my homage to them, in the form of a limerick, appropriately so, on St. Patrick’s Day! Erin Go Caw!