A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Murder of Crows

For the past three days, thousands of crows have been roosting around my house at night, mainly in the park behind me. This is normal cold-weather behavior for these birds. Crows are very sociable, and large roosts afford protection. Cities are warmer than surrounding rural areas, don't allow hunting, and have better lighting. (Lighting is important because crows are afraid of owls, who see better than they do at night. At least in the park they have a shot at spotting nocturnal predators and finding safer cover if necessary.) These large flocks of crows are referred to by scientists studying them as "roosts." The more poetic term is "murder."

Crows are my favorite birds because they are so interesting and intelligent. My own name, Corbett, is derived from corvus, Latin for "crow." Coats of arms of the Corbett family have crows depicted on them. I don't really mind that the crows have decided to move into the neighborhood. But residents who park on the street under the trees might. A murder of crows does leave behind a lot of messy droppings.

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