I first met him last weekend.
He was on the highest branch of my lemon tree in the backyard. I was sitting at the table sorting laundry when I heard him cry out "Caw, caw, caw, caw, caw". He obviously wanted my attention and I looked up at a shiny black crow. I responded to him with the exact same call he had given me.
The bird ruffled his feathers and repeated his call, but this time he left of one "caw". I responded to him with four "caw" calls of my own. For over half an hour, we called back and forth to each other, me mimicking his pitch and number of "caws". Finally, I got up to take the laundry in the house and he flew away. How queer is that?
Why he wanted to communicate with me was a mystery. Why I wanted to communicate with him was a puzzle too.
Today, I was again in the backyard doing a little weeding. Sure enough, the crow was back at the top branch of the lemon tree. He cawed once and I responded. All at once, I understood that we were talking in a code of sorts. Don't ask how we translated his caws into spoken words, and my words into crow language. (It's complicated.) Just accept that we did.
This is how our conversation went to the best of my recollection.
Him: Where's the old man?
Me: He's at work. Where's your old lady?
Him: She's in a nest in the big oak tree out front. She's keeping her eggs warm.
Me: How many are there?
Him: How many what?
Him: Just some. I don't do math.
Me: Oh. Are you excited about getting new crow babies?
Him: This is the first time. I don't know.
Me: Wow! How long have you been involved with your female?
Him: Not that long. A little while.
Me: Why do you guys make that awful "Caw" noise?
Him: You have dogs that make a lot worse noise than us.
Me: Right. I hate that noise too.
Him: I don't know how you stand it.
Me: Sometimes I don't either.
Him: See ya! Gotta go check on my baby mama.
He flew off and left me with more questions than answers. Men!
It seems that he would have been more informative with his answers but he wasn't. Maybe I need to work on my questions.
For those of you who might be wondering what I've been smoking, I assure you that's not the case. If I was going to "trip" or make something up, I'd have thought of something much more entertaining than this.
Truth is duller than fiction.