Joshua Tree National Park, California

I was walking next to a park several blocks from our house when I saw a dead crow in the middle of the street. It may have been hit by a car, but how? Crows seem too intelligent for that. Seeing dead animals or birds crushed into oblivion unnerves me, so I have a ritual of moving them off the road and placing them under a suitable shrub to rest. 

I walked over and picked up the poor crow by the wing feathers, and noticed, he was beginning to get stiff. The next second––KRAA KRAA––an angry crow overhead shattered the peace, and in seconds the trees and sky filled with angry crows. The sound was intense and overwhelming. I went ahead and moved the noble bird to what I felt was a worthy resting place against the objection of its family and friends. 

Figuring the neighbors would wonder what all the ruckus was about, I headed home, but the assault continued. I kept trying to connect with the crows: No, you got it wrong––I’m your friend. But they weren’t having it. For a year or more, every time I walked through the park wearing the same eyeglasses, the crows would gather and give me hell––a firm reminder to respect my wild neighbors.