The Death of a Crow: Miscalculation or Warning?

July 2, 2012

Whenever I hear the call of crow it strikes a cord in me.  Part memory perhaps but  more than that - a resonance  I cannot properly explain.

It has always seemed to me that crows take notice of us in a way other birds don't.  When I hear their call, I look up and see them watching.  They seem wise and curious and wild.  And I am always glad to see them.
My boyfriend feels differently.  He is more focused than I on what they eat and sensitive to color.  When a crow crosses his path, he thinks of ill luck and death.

Which is not to say that he dislikes crows only that they make him uneasy.  He does in fact love all animals and was understandably upset to kill a crow quite by accident several weeks ago while driving.  Sadly, the bird flew into the side mirror of his car and died apparently on impact.

It was an unusual accident.  Doubly remarkable because the short of string of events it set in motion caused a delay and that kept my loved one just far enough behind a freeway pile up to avoid it being part of it.  For this I am grateful.

It may be arrogant to think of the death of any animal as a circumstance which prevents human injury but the truth is this death did do just that.   I can't help wondering if this particular crow carried a message?  And if a miscalculation mid-flight resulted in the sad circumstance of its delivery?

I cannot know for sure.  But I can say that the crow's untimely death has made me think.  How did society at large come to associate crows with bad luck or death? Is this symbolism its own type of miscalculation?  And what does this say about signs and superstition and the relatively subtle difference between  omen and warning?


  1. I too can't explain exactly what draws me to crows. I adore them. The crow family in my neighborhood often greets me when I'm out for a run. Sometimes it seems they're following me.

    The universe works in mysterious ways. I like the way you have tried to work out the circumstance of this crow's death.

  2. Hi Ginger! It's nice to know that others are attracted to crows as well. Thank you so much for commenting!

  3. I love crows. Lately, there's been a group of them--or as my book on Terms of Venery states, "A Murder of Crows"--on my property, flying above my backyard, and sometimes stopping for a rest on the pine trees.

    Like your boyfriend, they make me a little uncomfortable because all my life I've heard the superstitions about crows, and owls, too. I decided, however, to "get over it" and enjoy the crows. Over the past few weeks, I have found several crow feathers, some of them in the bird bath in my garden. I've considered them a gift, a keepsake, for me from the crows.

    Your story is powerful. The event that took place is, I believe, no coincidence. That crow was warning your boyfriend, a warning that saved his life. It is very sad that the crow lost his. What do we know about the workings of the Universe? Perhaps your boyfriend will honor Crow.

    This is a great blog, by the way!

  4. So cool that you founds the crow feathers after deciding to open yourself to enjoying the crows! I always take finding a feather as a sign. They are indeed a gift.

    I agree that the event was no coincidence. I think it is sad that the crow was lost as well but I think that was part of it even if I don't understand why. Mysterious - but it seems that the processes that change us are often that way.

    Thank you for your kind words on the blog and for sharing your thoughts. It means a lot to me!


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