Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Murder of Fish Crows

At 4:50 PM (EDT) today I encountered an aggregation, bunch, congregation, flock, gathering, group (take your pick) of Fish Crows near the intersection of WV Route 9 and Mission Road on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains (and just east of the Shenandoah River) in Jefferson County. I heard their distinctive nasal caas before I spotted them, at least 70 birds by my estimation, about half of them perched in trees and conversing noisily while the other half swirled and whirled in small groups on the wind currents. This is the largest assemblage of corvids of any species that I’ve encountered in the Eastern Panhandle in quite some time.

A murder of crows is an archaic collective noun for a flock or group of crows. A Murder of Crows was also a 1998 murder-mystery movie thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr., a 2003 children’s book by Louise and Richard Spilsbury, and a 2003 record album by the heavy metal band Dead Soul Tribe.

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