Monday, June 13, 2005

Crow Birdie

American crow Posted by Hello

When my first daughter was about 18 months old, she encountered her first crow. It was sitting on the driveway of a friend's house. We got out of the car; she was fascinated by this huge black bird. It gave a mighty squawk and moved a few feet away. She walked toward it again, eventually scaring it away. But she was smitten.

At this age, she had a special laugh reserved only for animals. It was a laugh of pure delight, from the belly and full of joy and wonder. For the rest of the day she'd say "Crow Birdie! Squaawwwwkkk!" and laugh her special laugh.

On the way home, that day, she made crow noises in the car. When I asked her what the noise was, she said "Crow Birdie! He's in the car with us. Sitting right next to me."

I thought my daughter had found her totem. How interesting that a mommy with a Bluejay totem would have a daughter with a crow totem.

The funniest thing is that truly, although I admire many things about birds, I'm really not a bird person. I don't go bird watching, I hate seeing birds in cages, don't like to park under trees full of birds (for obvious reasons) and have no desire to get very close to them. As I was growing up, my favorite animals were all mammals, and if asked, I'd say my favorite animal was a lion. In high school, I discovered the e. e. cummings poem above and identified with it completely. After many years (and a bluejay tattoo) it became clear to me that the bluejay was my totem animal.

So now my 18-month old daughter had a crow totem. This went on for about 9 months, the crow birdie our constant companion. Crow birdie was in the car, crow birdie was tucked in to bed, crow birdie everywhere. She even had a special crow birdie dance.

Then we rented the movie "Walking with Dinosaurs" and she discovered pterodactyls. Bye bye crow birdie. No more imaginary friend; my daughter decided she *was* a pterodactyl. Interestingly, the pterodactyl screech and dance were very similar to crow birdie's.

When she was 4, she informed me that for Halloween, she was going to be a rhamphorynchus. I said, "A what?!" A rhamphorynchus, she informed me, was part of the pteranodon family but differed in that it had a longer tail for steering as it flew over the water, and curved teeth for scooping fish out. OK, one rhamphorynchus costume coming up.

She is now seven years old and no longer believes herself to be a pterodactyl but maintains her intense interest in dinosaurs and even corrected a guide at the Museum of Natural History on the differences between two similar dinosaurs. I still have a special place in my heart for crows, and I'm quite sure she does too.

The other day my 4 year old daughter, named for my love of lions, walked into my room with an empty bowl which she announced had antelope and ostrich meat "to feed my lion."

Long as lion doesn't eat any crows or bluejays, I told her, it's all good.


Blogger Atreau said...

When I was six I wanted to be a Paleontologist, I used to go out in the backyard on my "digs" and had a fossil collection, sadly that phase ended the next year but I remember those digs fondly!

5:48 PM, June 13, 2005  
Blogger Kate said...

That's an awesome picture. Did you take it? It's great. Is it a crow or a raven? It has a large beak but then it's tail isn't pointy. But sometimes it's hard to tell. I'm always debating in my mind, crow or raven?

Anyway, I like them both. I like all the corvids. :-)

10:00 AM, June 14, 2005  
Blogger cjblue said...

Thanks! No, I didn't take it, I found it on the web. I'm no photographer and I can't tell you the difference between a crow and a raven.

This from the American Society of Crows and Ravens: "Ravens are about 1/3 larger than crows. They have somewhat heavier bills, more fan-shaped tails, sometimes they have a ruff (mane) of feathers around the throat. But essentially, crows and ravens are identical in color, shape - and most importantly - behavior."

So, on further inspection, I have to admit it might in fact be a raven. But it's pretty! :D

Thanks for making me do a bit of research. XOXO

11:41 AM, June 14, 2005  

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