I love crows. I throw out grain and seeds for them in the winter. When they see me coming, they call to each other. I think they’re saying, “Here she is!”
Today is the first day of spring, and they are starting to find plenty of food for themselves in these woods. But all winter I’ve watched them congregate with doves, cardinals, jays, wrens, and sparrows. Roadrunners and a family of woodpeckers also call these woods home. And soon the warm weather birds will be here.
I wrote my crow riddle many years ago because a lady in the small town where I once worked as a newspaper editor had rescued a baby crow. She worked in the convenience store near the newspaper office, and when she would drive to work, the crow would fly alongside her car, keeping her company.
I knew they were smart birds. And when I did my research and found that they could learn to talk, I thought I had a little-known fact for my riddle.
When I posted the riddle to Twitter, children’s author Ame Dyckman guessed that it was a myna bird. Myna birds talk.
What if my riddle can have another true answer?
Do mynas eat corn, I asked. That sent us both off to do research. They are omnivores, according to our research, but so are crows. Mynas, however, don’t normally eat seeds and grain in the wild. Crows do, if they can find it. That’s why there are scarecrows.
Blackbird, she guessed next. Children’s writer Francis S. Poesy guessed starling. More research!
Guess what! Blackbirds and starlings can learn to talk, too.
At this point, I knew I had to add more lines to my riddle to make it specific enough. See, when I set out to teach a lesson, often I am the one who learns the most.
Did I say these birds are smart?
Problem solving is their art.
Is this enough? Do I also need to add how sociable crows are? They congregate in groups. Would saying a group of them is called a murder give away too much?
I can see I have more research to do.