Gray sky thin as an eyelid for the sun’s approximate blaze. The distant gargles of an 18-wheeler jake-breaking into town set off the crows.
Between gusts of wind, the burble of a Carolina wren. Two ravens veer low over the trees, croaking, pursued by a pair of crows.
With winter’s gift of unimpeded sight and a white backdrop, I watch crows hop and circle a dark carcass 100 yards off through the woods.
Cold, and an iron wind. Two murders of crows rage at each other from the crowns of adjacent oaks, the sunrise slippery on their napes.
The sun peeks through windows of deep blue. I watch a crow flying silently from tree to tree as another crow follows, pecking and jeering.
At 7:30 a raven flaps over, cronking. Ten minutes later, a maelstrom of crows and ravens in the woods beside the powerline: fresh gut pile.
Almost light, and a screech owl still calls from down in the hollow—that sepulchral whinny. One croak of a crow stops it cold.
Just past daybreak, a pileated woodpecker whinnies, a nuthatch tuts, a crow croaks, and a gray squirrel clatters through gray branches.
Chipmunks cluck—a hillside of leaky faucets. Over by the powerline, a crow is venting what sounds like frustration: a hollow ach ach ach.
A crow mob: enmity in unison sounding so different from a flock of grackles, where each bird is simply saying “here.” It begins to rain.