Something moved in the grass at the edge of the road. Black against bright green. A young crow. It fanned its wings as I approached and tried to scurry into the tall weeds. A fledgling pushed out of the nest too soon, perhaps? Its tail feathers looked rumpled, mangled. My first impulse was rescue: I would bring it home, nurse it, maybe keep it as a pet. It resisted at first, so I spoke to it softly. When I picked it up, it stared at me sideways, the way birds do, with a dark, purplish-grey eye. Then it curled a foot around my little finger - it felt like the grasp of a baby's hand. We were more than a mile from my house, so we began walking. The crow made half-hearted struggling movements, but after a few moments it settled its throat against my hands, so I could feel the warm thud of its pulse. It smelled, oddly, of wet dog. What had happened? Most likely it had been struck by a car, misjudging the speed of some roaring machine hurtling itself down this busy road. I thought of the things a young crow would need to learn to survive in this world. Velocity. Who was a friend? Who wasn't?
Recommended CitationPoirier-Bures, Simone, One crow, sorrow, Animal Issues, 3(1), 1999.