I was feeling a bit short of crows, or rather, pictures of crows. They are wary birds, so getting them to pose can take a little effort, and I've used most of my best ones several times over in those "Crow Country" collages. But I know one place where -- if they're in the mood -- they can be downright co-operative, and that is Marwell Zoo. It's where I took my Google ID image, over on the right there, many years ago, now.
Being smart birds, they like to
hang out in those places where humans put out feed for other animals,
as well as dropping bits of their own tasty human foodstuffs at picnic sites. Lovely grub! A zoo is a
perfect place in that regard, and a well-fed crow is not disinclined to
have its portrait taken, provided a respectful distance is maintained.
This fine fellow is a rook, probably the smartest of the crows in Britain. If you get close enough, you can hear a rook muttering to itself, in a small, gruff, hollow voice that sounds almost as if it is being produced electronically through a cheap loudspeaker: Wot's 'e up to, then? 'As 'e got grub? No? Wossat in 'is 'and, then? Oi, not so close, matey, or I'm off!
As well as talking to themselves, rooks have a touching belief in the beauty of their own song. This one was in fine form. In the old joke, not so much bel canto as can belto.
Just before he took off, I noticed something had changed. What the...