I love crows. Crows form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. This includes jackdaws, rooks, ravens and magpies, but I do adore the crow most of all. So much so that I employed half a million among the cast of Kimi’s Secret.
A quick Google will show you that crows in literature (or those belonging to the crow family) are traditionally dumb and downright foolish. One daft old bird fancied his reflection so much that he fell into the oil at which he was staring. Another who was ferociously hungry, sat in a fig tree waiting for the figs to ripen, and of course he starved to death.
In reality though, crows are highly intelligent birds, documented as creating `knives` from stiff leaves to help with nest building or food storing. They have been filmed using crumbs of bread to entice juicy fish to the surface. They will drop nuts on the road and wait for passing traffic to crack them open. Then there’s my favourite…the crows of Australia who have learned that stabbing the thin flesh of the poisonous cane toad’s neck will bring access to its tasty innards without any risk of being poisoned – and yes, just like Audrey in Kimi’s Secret some crows are on record as being able to talk or mimic the human. Audrey goes against the dumb corvids of literature. She knows what has to be done, and with her portentous gift of foresight she helps Kimi to save the day.
Crows are deliciously handsome. Something about those empty black eyes that perhaps could swallow you up if you blinked. Something about that stare, that jerk of the head; or maybe it’s the way they raid the guts of road kill with voracious tenacity. Or maybe it’s that dark portentous feeling of dread, that prickle of the spine when the rattle of wings lifts from the branches; or the caw, caw as the flock takes flight that I admire so much. As I write this, a crow caws from the bottom of the garden, the chatter of a magpie comes seconds later. These siblings of nature are surely communicating, maybe they are talking about me.