Friday, June 2, 2023

The Blood Of Crows

At some time during the Mesolithic period I wrote a book called the Blood of Crows. The crows in that sense related to a fragment of the Russian mafia and were generally quite unpleasant types. 

At that time I did quite a bit of research about crows and corvids in general and they are clever, clever little critters. They’re up there with chimpanzees and dolphins with their ability to problem solve. And like the other two species mentioned, they are hugely communicative with their own species. The murder of crows is there to protect the young and they have the ability to rally the troops to defend themselves. In simple terms, they can gang up on you and beat you up.

So two things are relevant to this story. If you go out our house and across the road you are in the Bluebell Woods. There are paths and it's quite civilised. After about 100m the trees are much older, the wood is denser. It's dark and spooky. No paths. And more than one murder from my knowledge.

This is the Ravenswood and it has been called that for hundreds of years. For an obvious  reason. 

The second thing of interest is the new roof we have put on the new house. By Scottish standards our house has a large foot plate and therefore has a large roof. Due to global warming or whatever, the roof and the gutters stopped being able to cope with the amount of rain we have. So with the new roof came new gutters and this provided a lot of wee nooks and crannies for the crows to build a nest. And I think you now know where this story is going.

It all gets a bit Hitchcock Du Maurier.

We’ve always taken the policy that if we feed the crows, they will leave the smaller song birds alone and we think that policy largely works. I consider two of the pigeons friends, collared doves are nervous birds anyway  and they stay clear but I thought the crows and I were on relatively good terms. 

How wrong I was. 

And it was totally accidental.


I was going out to water the tubs and the bold Mathilda followed me out. There’s often crows on the ground picking up the bits of food that have fallen from the feeders and I didn’t clock that one of them was a youngster. Googling it, corvid fledglings have a short period of time where they are on the ground. They have come out the nest and swooped down, not really having the ability yet to fly back up and that was exactly when I was hanging out the washing. Ie just when, as google said, crows are at their most dangerous.

Mathilda, being a rather sweet natured beastie, trotted over to the wee bird to make sure it was okay. Mrs Crow was on her quicker than a blow fly on a corpse. Mathilda was quite confused about this as generally her and the crows get on quite well. Staffies don’t take well to rejection, so while I was calling her back, I was being swooped upon, claws out beaks open. But the really amazing thing was that initial caw caw called in about 30 back up crows from the other side of the house/ across the road/ along the path/ into the deep woods. 


They came all that way with the sole purpose of attacking me. Mathilda and I hid indoors. And for the last few days that has been the way of it. There’s no way we can get in and out of the house via our normal route. Putting the bins out involves using an umbrella. We are under siege. Actually I’m writing this from a state of imprisonment.

I may have to set up a crowdfunding page if I run out of chocolate.

Some of the old whisky distilleries around here still use geese instead of guard dogs. I’m thinking of befriending the crows further, it could be cheaper than a house alarm




  1. When we lived up in the Lakes, Caro, we always knew when the crows were raiding the feeders intended for the smaller birds, because they'd post a look-out crow in the tree outside the study window. Like you say, clever, clever birds...

  2. [looking at that last picture, with 'Caro' centered beneath it...] For some reason, I always thought of you as being blond.

    I do enjoy feeding the birds, tho I'd love to ship all the starlings back to Europe where they belong.

  3. Wow! This is, indeed a horror story, however inadvertent. Hope you can reach detente, eventually, Caro!

  4. Hmm. I wonder if Du Maurier had a similar experience...

  5. This is both funny and terrifying--do you need chocolate yet?