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Counting Crows in Carroll Gardens

For the birds. Literally.

I want to say from the get-go that this is not about the alt-rock band.

Back in the day, when I was growing up in Carroll Gardens, we had birds, of course.  Plenty of pigeons, for sure, and cute little sparrows. Now that I have a backyard, I’ve become more observant of our feathered friends. In the last several years, I’ve noticed cardinals, blue jays, and, last summer, orange-breasted orioles, all those colorful, major league baseball types of birds. Pretty starlings splash in my neighbor’s birdbath regularly. This year, however, there is a new type of bird that has moved into my corner of the neighborhood.

A few weeks ago, I was walking up my block and I was startled when a piece of tree bark fell on me. I became even more startled when I looked up. Directly above my head was the hugest bird I have ever seen in person – a very big, black crow. I immediately picked up my pace. Crows in Carroll Gardens??!!

Since that first sighting, I now see (and hear) them all the time. Sitting out back on Mother’s Day, my family spotted one ominously perched on the rooftop across the way. Last week, as I was eating my cornflakes, they were causing such a ruckus that I had to go outside to investigate. There were five or six of them flying around and cawing like crazy like a scene out of The Birds. They were back that evening when I was barbecuing some chicken. Their hovering and swooping made me feel so nervous that I kept dashing inside, which resulted in some rather burnt chicken.   

Now, I don’t mind some chirping in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun comes up. I really don’t know why birds are so chatty so early in the day and that chirping is a kind of pre-alarm clock for me. But scary birds that look big enough to carry my pleasingly plump cat away make me a little uneasy. I wonder what they are doing here and what all their fussing is about. I would much prefer some of those bright green parrots that have nested in the front gates of .

I’ve also noticed an inordinate amount of bird droppings; our front walk looks like target practice. I guess that’s to be expected with such large birds. No sooner do we hose it away then we have to do it again.

I have nothing against nature and I enjoy a trip to the country now and then but I’m really a city girl at heart. I’ve been on my guard taking the garbage out after dark ever since my son rushed in, white as a ghost, after encountering a possum on our stoop one night. And now I’m feeling like I have to take cover whenever I venture outside my own house. It’s getting to be a regular Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom around here.

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Laura Eng June 11, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Oh my, Sharon, "recognizing and remembering specific people" really creeps me out! My husband read that we have to move the owls around regularly or else they will know they are fakes. You're right, they sound very intelligent. Will keep you posted.
Terry Randazzo June 13, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I've seen tons of crows in Boerum Hill for some time now, particularly in the early morning when I walk my dogs near the Gowanus Houses. They are very noisy and seem very lively in the morning, but I don't know that there's any cause for concern. They've been around here for years, along with seagulls, and I've never heard of anyone having trouble with them. I think that "murder of crows" appellation isn't doing them any favors!
Laura Eng June 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I agree with you, Terry, that term doesn't do anything for their image. And the only trouble is their loudness and the droppings, of course, if they happen to be hanging around your house.
Frankie June 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Maybe there is a dead animal carcass out in the field, err curb...I encountered one of those hungry intelligent crows removing an unopened wrapped yogurt bar from my golf cart while I was twenty yards away putting. Using tools, recognizing, sophisticated and even able to read yogurt wrappers. Uh oh..
Laura Eng June 19, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Today, there was a crow standing on Matthew's skylight right above his head!!! He could clearly see the "crow's feet."

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