Random Reasons Why I Love My Job – Being Attacked by Crows

 Bear with me on this one – I appreciate that being attacked by crows doesn’t seem like much of a positive, but in my strange and wonderful world it is. It is, in fact, fortuitous retrospective research. You see in my next book (title to be revealed very soon, but something a bit like THE PECULIAR MUSEUM OF FANCY RED SHOES – allegedly!) there are crows. They don’t have a leading role; they’re supporting characters and they’re on the side of the heroes not the villains. Both my agent and my editor are very good people, but they are of the opinion that crows are ‘creepy’. I think they’ve been watching too many movies. My fictional crows are loyal and brave. I did some research (of course) using books and the internet before writing about these birds. I discovered that they are fierce, intelligent, loyal, and have even been known to bring gifts to those who feed them regularly (not flowers or bottles of Prosecco, but buttons or bits of ribbon or string). And today I had some practical experience. I was attacked by two crows who took it in turns to dive bomb me and claw at my head. It hurt. I bled. (I didn’t realise I was bleeding until I got home, so apologies to anyone who saw a blond woman with a big splodge of blood on her head walking a dog this morning. Please don’t be alarmed. I’m fine) But their motives were honourable. I was walking Squadron Leader Timothy Bear when I heard loud cawing. I thought it was crows in the trees, but then realised it was coming from on the ground. Well, from the gutter actually. A baby crow had fallen from its nest and was sitting in the gutter waiting to be run over by the next bus. The one slightly critical thing I will say about crows is that their nests can be a bit ramshackle, and being so high-up could really do with a safety rail to stop the chicks tumbling out. But tumble this one had, and if I didn’t move it, it was definitely going to get flattened by a car or bus (what is it with me and birds – first the pigeon and now a crow!) I picked it up and looked around for somewhere safer and off the ground for it to wait for it parents, but mummy and daddy crow were watching and clearly thought I was about to kidnap their offspring. They both dive bombed me, cawing furiously, whilst I scuttled along clutching their bedraggled baby. The chick was struggling, squawking and trying to peck me, and Timothy was giving me one of his ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing now?’ looks. The only nearby place that I could find to deposit the chick was on top of someone’s garden hedge. At least it was off the ground, and if it fell off the hedge and into the garden, it wouldn’t be near the road. One of the crows stayed near to where I had left its chick, but the other escorted me down the road, still swooping at me until it was sure that I wasn’t coming back. These crows were devoted to their baby and were prepared to do anything they could to protect it. Definitely heroes in my book (literally!)  Sadly, I have no idea if the chick will survive but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Apparently it is common for them to leave the nest before they can fly, and their parents are very attentive (tell me about it!) and feed them for several weeks until they can cope on their own. You shouldn’t move them unless they are in immediate danger, and then only to the nearest point of safety (I Googled what to do when I got home – fortunately I got it right!) The hedge belongs to a member of our book club, so I emailed her to tell her about the chick. I’m hoping she’ll keep an eye out for marauding cats…



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