The choice for my bird of the month for June was an easy one. I’ve chosen the Carrion Crow. Even before we found an injured juvenile crow in our garden last week, crows were featuring heavily in my month.
In June in Scotland there is a lot of daylight. The summer solstice marks the longest day. It begins to get light around 3.30 in the morning and there is still light in the sky at 11pm. In the past month I have been woken up several times by noisy, noisy crows in our back garden as it begins to get light. They raid the fat balls in the bird feeders, I think, and seem to like to start their day squabbling about it. Their hoarse CAWS! are very, very loud. I have enough on my hands with a two-year-old who wakes easily in the early hours so I have to admit that I have done some crow-cursing this month.
Then last Monday we were all at home because we were self-isolating (for the second Monday in a row!). Pig & I were out in the garden for a potter. We saw a black crow frantically flapping by the fence and realised it had got stuck. I have no idea how it had happened but she was trapped by one wing. She had been struggling for a while, I think. I shouted on Ross who came out and managed to pry the fence apart and release her. She scuttled under a bush, clearly badly injured. I found my biggest and best cardboard box from the studio while Ross fished her out from under the bush. She was beautiful. Her glossy wing feathers shone with purple and green and blue hues. Her big shiny black eyes were watching everything. She was obviously a juvenile. She had wounds at the top of one wing and her neck seemed a little droopy. We popped the little crow in the box and brought her into the house to keep her safe. At first she was very still but then she started pacing around the box and eating a little food. I started dreaming about looking after her and nursing her back to health. She’d become one of the family. She would be there when we came down for breakfast in the morning, she’d tap on the window at delivery drivers, wait impatiently in the hall to greet Pig when he comes home, sit on our shoulders to watch telly. But then I thought about her being able to fly again. To be free, in the sky, with her beautiful green-purple-blue-black wings spread wide. I realised we had to get some professionals involved.
A few hours later, while Pig was napping, the SSPCA came to collect her. They took her to a rescue centre in Alloa to be cared for. When Pig got up from his nap all that was left was a box of poo. He was so fascinated by this box of poo that every time we mention the crow he says “Poo-Poo”. Thus, our little crow has been named Poo-Poo.
You don’t often get to have such an intimate encounter with something wild. I felt really sad after she left. That evening there were two crows on the lawn. I wondered if they were looking for Poo-Poo. Maybe one of them was her mum. I wanted to go out there and tell her, one mama to another, what had happened. That she was OK but she wouldn’t be coming back. I decided to start a drawing of our little crow in flight as my wish for her. I hope she heals and flies free again and raids gardens in Alloa and wakes up slumbering toddlers with her hoarse caw-caw.