The Crow

I am just arriving home from the beach with my dog when I notice that the grass outside my house resembles a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds. There are over 20 crows on the grass outside my flat and they are making so much noise it’s actually quite frightening.

As I get closer they don’t fly away, my dog is slightly in front and they are not bothered by her either. As we get within a meter or two they do retreat slightly. They are now sitting on the fence and in a nearby tree.

Then I notice the crumpled black shape on the grass. I move closer to look and the noise of the bird’s increases. I realise that the shape is another crow. It is lying on the ground with its neck bent at an impossible angle. I move even closer and can see that it has blood on its beak; it seems to be coming from its throat.

The bird doesn’t move at all as I approach, nothing, not even a twitch of its wing. The only movement that shows it is still alive is its eye. When I look into the one visible eye I can see that it is still alive. The eye seems to express the bird’s fear, confusion and most of all pain. I look into its eye for so long. I wonder what it is thinking, is the pain too intense for it to think or can it not feel anything. The neck seems to be broken so maybe it is paralysed and is just wondering why it can’t move.

The other crows are still there crying, do they feel pity for the bird on the ground? Or are they just waiting for me to leave so that they can attack the bird, finish it off and eat it? I know they will eat dead animals, will they eat another crow?

I think I should kill it, put it out of its misery, end the pain. I look into the eye and see intelligence. I wonder if it would want me to kill it or would that just add extra terror to its final moments? I could twist its neck. No, I can’t. I just can’t kill something. But it is suffering, would it be kinder? I should. I step towards it and that eye just flickers, I can’t, I can’t even touch it let alone kill it. What if I make it worse and just increase the pain. Could I drop something onto it and crush its skull, I look around and there is nothing that looks right. I look again into its eye and in my head I apologise, “I’m sorry you are hurt and I’m sorry I am not going to help you”

I turn my back on it and start to walk away. I am sure it is watching me. Is it relieved that I am going or is it frustrated that I didn’t help? The noise from the other crows increases but I keep walking.

I am in my flat now but I know it is still out there. Should I go out and do something? The noise from the birds seems so loud. I sit and think about the crow, what is it feeling, what would it want me to do?

I eventually look out the window and the bird is gone. It couldn’t have flown away, it couldn’t even move. Could the other birds have carried it away, No that is a stupid idea, it was a big bird. Maybe one of my neighbours has moved it. Maybe it died and they put it in the bin or maybe they killed it.

Even though the bird is gone I still feel guilty. I should have done something but I just couldn’t find it inside me to kill an animal. Could you?


Mustang Sally said...

I realize this is an old post, but I've just seen it and I have to tell you it is incredibly moving. I feel the birds pain, and your confusion.

I PROBABLY would have ended it's suffering ... but it would have been almost unbearably hard for me to do. I cannot stand to see any living thing suffer but don't know how I would find the guts to do it either, so I completely understand your reaction.

I am a crow person. They show up around me at times of great change in my life, as if warning me. I've had them actually sit and talk to me ... if only I could understand.

Because of this I've studied on them a bit and have found in my research stories about crows always post a "lookout" and should a crow fail at his "guard duty" that the others will mob and kill it. I've always doubted that story and I don't know if that's what happened in your case, but that's what was brought to my mind while I read it.

I do know that they are very social and quite intelligent animals. If there were another type of accident that caused the injuries (perhaps a hawk attack?) I also think it's possible that the other birds were gathered to defend and then mourn the passing of their friend.

Then again some people think I am quite strange, so feel free to take all this with a grain of salt ;) I just wanted you to know this post moved me.

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30 something female, GSOH, independent, unreliable, seeks sanity. Must like dogs and handbags!