In my building’s courtyard, just over a week ago, I came aware of this constant nagging/cawing, and saw it was coming from a young, downy crow hanging low under a covering all alone.
This happens every year, May to July, when parents nudge their baby out of the nest – though continue to monitor them nearby, and from afar, to teach them how to fly and other life skills.
So I witnessed, from the first day, when Winston – as he has been named – was first shoved from the nest. A bizarre, extremely intimate moment in a living thing’s life.
For the first few days he was severely depressed. Literally sitting motionless with his head poked into a bush, hind sticking out, for hours. And other ways of very obviously moping. Though his parents still stuck around, watching from strategic places, cleverly. Reminding me to fuck off if I got too close unawares.
It becomes a whole thing, Winston, always looking out for him. Or listening – his distinct voice, pouring out a constant stream of consciousness. Despair, curiosity, or snark – all distinct emotions. Funny how some animals are so vocal, to no one in particular, to everyone. Or for people, their constant yabber in all varying ways.
It’s something I look forward to. A little peek at the intimacies of an amazingly familiar being. The opportunity to follow the incredibly human thoughts of a non-human, in his constant chatter. In making eye contact and knowing he’s looking back, unglazed.
He’s rapidly growing up, but for his size still has messy, tufts of a downy belly.
Now he can fly, but that’s a skill to be honed. Not quite to the smooth, subtle, regal poise with which we’re so accustomed, how crows tend to fade in the background.
But now I’m so aware of them, always looking to see if it’s Winston. I notice them everywhere, I can see now they’re always fussing about something real, even if it’s above my head. As I ride by on the bus I see them leering down from power lines, sentinels, every one of them is watching me, specifically, as I go by. Realizing that they actually are.
This morning it’s really quiet on my way in to work. In the silence are only my own private thoughts filling the void. Which are, incidentally, the same as Winston’s, having been me telling his story all along.
I detour to my spot, even though it rained a bit earlier; but everything’s mostly dry by now. Unfortunately someone left a bag of dog shit right there, which is inevitable given the courtyard doubles as a dog-shitting spot. But there’s enough space in my nook that it shouldn’t interfere.
I get close and I see it’s not what I thought afterall, rather it’s the wet, wilted, downy, lifeless tufts of Winston’s belly who had passed some time, somehow in the night. I had to leave, and his body is soon cleaned up after.
I wish there was more to say, but that’s the end to the story of Winston the Crow.