black crow on cable

Asshole Crow

The crow was an asshole. Sitting stubbornly on the wire while a dozen smaller birds buzzed in on him in shifts, launching their missions from nearby tree branches. Give the crow credit though, he didn’t flinch.

Every few minutes, the villain would leave his wire, swooping to the ground in the adjacent yard. When he did, the protectors dove in on him like the arrows of a marksman; three robins, 2 blue jays, a few sparrows, and several others. This crow was after something nobody else wanted him to have.

Defeated, the crow returned to his wire perch; the other birds back to their branches. This was only the first inning of whatever game this was, and on it went for several minutes; each round ending with the crow’s failure.

But the crow was stubborn and didn’t flinch. He was an asshole. But he didn’t quit.

After what looked like yet another repeat of the same play, this time the crow emerged from the scrum with a small body in its beak.

Was it a mouse? Probably not. A baby bird? Most likely.

A brief but dangerous mid-air dogfight ensued with every bird screaming and squawking in pursuit of the asshole crow. Away they went.

Quickly the skies cleared. Everything was quiet, as if nobody had been fighting, and nothing had been stolen or killed.

It was over.

Birds of several species had banded together to thwart the deeds of an asshole. They failed. The crow got what it wanted. All the players had no choice but to move on.

Nobody asked the crow to defend or explain his actions. Is he really an asshole?

It’s too late. The yard is quiet now except for the occasional sway of tree branches in the morning breeze.

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32 thoughts on “Asshole Crow

  1. Best blog post title ever. Some animals seem eminently more detestable than others for no other reason than the way they look. Is the asshole the one who does what he wants or the one who place expectations/demands on others to act a certain way? Great post Todd.

  2. Cool description of a scene that reminded me of something I witnessed a few years ago, back when I was living in Cairo. One afternoon, this huge blackbird with this terrifying beak attacked this smaller bird in our large backyard. It was actually a cold-blooded attack and gruesome. The big bird–blackbirds in Egypt are enormous and terrifying and absolutely ruthless–held the small bird down on the grass with its talons and proceeded to tear the little thing to pieces and eat it while it was still alive. I got so incensed that I ran toward the big bird to try to stop the assault, but it just picked up the carcass and flew away. Witnessing such brutality really disturbed me.

    We have this notion that birds are sweet, melodious creatures, and some are, but many are super Darwinian. I guess we are loaded with all sorts of pre-formed notions about all sorts of things, not realizing that many of these preconceptions are just based on caricatures we carry around in our heads.

    Todd, I really like the direction your writing is going in. You’ve got such a keen eye for seeing small occurrences and working out their larger meaning. That’s what the best writers do–they see and they think about what they see. I used to tell my students that the first step in becoming an artist, a great writer or thinker, is first paying attention, is not living life like a somnambulist.

    Thanks for such a nice piece of writing.

    1. Thank you Troy- I appreciate the kind words about my writing! 🙂 Wow- what a horrible scene that bird attack must’ve been. You’re right about birds being pretty brutal and our preconceived notions about how sweet they are. Nature is rough!

  3. I love this article, Todd, and I agree with Troy’s words, it’s an excellent piece of writing, it sounds like poetry to me. And the subject, the crow, I like it, even though it is an asshole, because sometimes also assoles have their reasons. In latin you would say – mors tua vitae mea.

    1. Thank you Cristiana-I appreciate that! I like the phrase “assholes have their reasons”. That might look good on a T-shirt 😁

  4. I join the other ones here. I really enjoyed this piece of writing. Thank you and I read many others layers there as well. Metaphorically.

    1. Thank you very much! I was seeing some metaphorical layers as well as I watched the whole scene unfold. I.

  5. Yikes…another bird? I didn’t realize crows were, you know, cannibalistic? Or just menacing for sport? What a description, Todd! I felt as if I was watching!

    1. Thanks Victoria! I didn’t realize that about crows either-I thought only raptors’s were into that sort of thing.

    2. Would think it only cannibalistic to eat another crow. Humans eat other mammals, so a crow eating another bird seems like the equivalent.

  6. Isn’t nature wonderful. The crow is just doing what comes naturally, but it says a lot for all those other birds to come together and try to deal with the crow

  7. Sometimes I can barely stand to watch—or even think about—the cruelty of nature. Yet it is designed in such a way that each species must do what it must in order to survive. I once had a hideous hatred of crows, until one day I realized that they, too, are creatures of God and deserve to exist just as much as the rest of us. On other side of that coin is appreciation of the immense, beauty and magnificence of nature. I guess we all have all aspects of nature within ourselves—some a little ugly, some beautiful. I confess, the world seemed a better place when I withdrew my judgment of the crows and saw them for how smart they are. If it works that way for a crow, imagine how it might work for a human!

  8. Great description – I feel like I was there! Interesting to wonder if the defenders were really passionate about protecting the victim, or were they just all anti-crow? I suspect the latter.

  9. Love this story! My imagination went wild with the imagery of the birds, haha, I admit I looked out my window to see if there were any birds nearby that I could watch in such a manner. A week ago, I witnessed a hawk, dive down and carry off a little brown squirrel. So it goes…

    1. Aw! That poor little squirrel 😳 nature sure it doesn’t take it easy or on anybody does it? Thanks for reading Melissa!

  10. It’s hard not to root for the underdog (underbird?) here but as so many others have said, nature often doesn’t turn out to support that narrative very often. I loved that you stayed with the action all the way through.

    1. There’s a really large group of crows in our area that feeds in the farms outside our city, then they all come into town at dusk. We used to live across the street from the cemetery where they liked to gather-it was like something out of a horror movie some days 😁

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