“Even the blackest of them all, the crow, Renders good service as your man-at-arms, Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, And crying havoc on the slug and snail.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Pilot Fineliner Black Ink sketch and watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Sketchbook Black Crow – Corvus capensis. Found: Africa
Ample press is given to charismatic animals such as dolphins, chimps and the like, but few, when talking of intelligent beings, think to mention the crow or raven. It is, however, easy to understand the natural aversions some people have towards these birds: They’re lacking in any type of floral-like beauty; they have a cacophonous and sometimes incessant caw, and are cunning thieves to boot.
But if you look closer, and get to know these beautiful birds on a more intimate level, you will see not just see ‘plain black’ feathers, but beautiful iridescent colours of purple, blue, green and brown. And discover a great intelligence, and even a sense of humour, not normally associated with birds.
They are smart, ingenious, protective, adventurous, and full of engaging play; I recall my 27yr-old crow, Coco, watching intently as I planted my pansy seedlings, only to up-root them the minute I turned my back, cawing in laughter as she fled my mock chase!