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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness
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message 1: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 650 comments Mod
My apologies for getting this started late, everyone - I've been battling a horrible sinus infection and the brain is not firing on all cylinders. I thought I had set this up on June 1st!

Please enter your thoughts about Crow Planet on this thread. Thanks!


message 2: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments One of the questions for discussion at the end of the book asks people to examine what their perceptions of crows may have been before reading . Do crows provoke any motional reaction from you?


message 3: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 907 comments Mod
Becky wrote: "My apologies for getting this started late, everyone - I've been battling a horrible sinus infection and the brain is not firing on all cylinders. I thought I had set this up on June 1st!

Please e..."


Becky--- I hope you feel back to normal soon! Thanks for setting the discussion up. :)


message 4: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments Sher wrote: "Becky wrote: "My apologies for getting this started late, everyone - I've been battling a horrible sinus infection and the brain is not firing on all cylinders. I thought I had set this up on June ..."

Yes - hoping you feel better soon.


message 5: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments Here is a haiku I wrote last summer when facing job change.

crows have followed me
mob the tree outside my door
winds of change arrive

Haupt speaks widely about the way people view crows. According to An Illustrated Dictionary of Traditional Symbols, many cultures see crows as messengers, omens, or even demi urge. Do you view crows as symbols, or simply birds?


message 6: by Sher (new)

Sher (sheranne) | 907 comments Mod
When I think of crows--- Intelligent and it has been proven they are able to recognize faces. They use tools.

Most importantly is these observations or thoughts are not mine, but I have learned from seeing films and reading books about crows.

I used to confuse them with ravens.

Perceive they might be inferior to ravens in intelligence. Likely incorrect-- that's a bias for sure.


message 7: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 650 comments Mod
My friend owned a crow when she was a kid - had him for many years (named him Damien from "Omen" fame) and truly enlightened me as to the intelligence and loyalty this species could demonstrate.

Since moving out to the country, I have to plead they are a bit of a nuisance in the fall - we are on 5 acres chock-full of trees, surrounded by fields. They FILL our trees as they travel from field to field, gorging on leftover corn, and their sound is deafening. The cawing can definitely get on your nerves after awhile. We tolerate it as long as we can, but hubby will go out when we can't take it anymore and clap his hands. That usually drives them off to another stand of trees where they pick up their chatter.


message 8: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments I have always been fond of collective nouns - those names for groups of animals - such as a skein of geese, a pod of seals, a pride of lions, a flock of sheep, etc. Why do suppose the name murder was selected for crows, as in a murder of crows?


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 650 comments Mod
I've often wondered that, too, Ray.

From PBS:
What’s a murder of crows?
A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions.

For instance, there is a folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.

Many view the appearance of crows as an omen of death because ravens and crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries, and they’re thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.

But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. Other fun examples of “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot frogs, and a skulk of foxes.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/a-murd...


message 10: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments Becky wrote: "I've often wondered that, too, Ray.

From PBS:
What’s a murder of crows?
A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on..."


Yes I have encountered references to their association with corpses and scavenging . Also saw a reference to the habit of eating the eyes of a corpse first and the statement that this was historically associated with the idea of the devil blinding sinnsrs to consequences of their actions


message 11: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments From the discussion questions at the end of the book.
Consider the intersection of our urban and suburban communities with nature and wildlife, what Haupt calls the Zoopolis. Have you witnessed one encroaching upon the other? How do you imagine this intersection in twenty years? In one-hundred years.

I notice the impact of raccoons when they get into the trash bin for my building. I also have a lot of trees in my neighborhood, which lies between Chattanooga and a smaller city and has open woodland and one large meadow. Bird songs fill my morning revere. Once I left an old printer on a table on my porch and a wren nested in it. What do you notice in your urban or rural neighborhood?


message 12: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments We also had a black bear appear in our neighborhood a few years ago. Apparently a young male (older bears chase them away at a certain age) looking for a territory, he ran up a set of railroad tracks and through several backyards in the City of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
A group of sheriff's deputies arrived armed with rifles. They followed the bear from a distance. Their instructions were to not interfere, unless the bear became aggressive. He eventually left the area.


message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 650 comments Mod
I think the lines are a bit more blurred when you live in a rural environment. It didn't take us long to realize when we moved out to the country that we really are in THEIR territory now - it's not THEM encroaching on you. :)

We've had squirrels and bats in the house, raccoons with distemper waving at imaginary "vapor trails" on our front porch, snapping turtles trying to lay eggs in our driveway, deer grazing with the horses, and a red fox, great blue herons, Canada geese and mallard ducks all laying claim (briefly) to the pond that holds our artesian well excess.

Oh, and this year I'm apparently quite the irritant for a red-winged blackbird out by the pond and some barn swallows who have decided to nest on our side porch. ;)


message 14: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments Sher wrote: "When I think of crows--- Intelligent and it has been proven they are able to recognize faces. They use tools.

Most importantly is these observations or thoughts are not mine, but I have learned f..."

You say that you used to confuse them with Ravens. Ravens are not common in Tennessee, and I have never seen I bird I would definitively identify as Raven. We have, however, had an influx of Fish Crows over the past few years. Primarily distinguishable from the American Crow by their call.


Thomas Bancroft | 8 comments I've enjoyed the book so far. I only have a few more pages to go. The writing is pretty light, mainly interesting musing by the author. She mentioned at one point that crows allopreen during courtship. I thought this radio article on crows that appeared on Birdnote might be of interest.

http://birdnote.org/show/crows-preening

I had a chance to watch a pair allopreening during a brief courtship bout. The one bird worked the feathers on the neck of the other several times over a five minute period. They were walking along the edge of Lake Washington in the Seattle area. At one point they stopped on a little rise and stood for several minutes while the one bird groomed the other. It was fun to see.

Terry Tempest Williams is talking about her new book in Seattle on Thursday. I am going to see her presentation. I see someone has nominated this book for next month. She is great.


message 17: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments I found the chapter titled "Preparing" very interesting. She gives excellent guidelines for naturalists.

What did you think about her naming the crow "Charlotte?" I was put off by naming a wild animal at first, but her reasons make sense. Here are some more questions from the discussion suggestions at the end of the book.

Have you ever witnessed a crow, or other animal, behave in a fashion that struck you as human? Do you think it is appropriate to anthropomorphize animals? Is it more appropriate to treat them as wholly other?


message 18: by Becky (new)

Becky Norman | 650 comments Mod
Popular Science had a quick but interesting article on the neurons in bird (specifically crow) brains here: http://www.popsci.com/tiny-bird-brain...


message 19: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray Zimmerman | 629 comments So the comment Bird Brain could actually be a compliment?
Seriously - the article looks interesting.


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