The Birds

In one of their better decisions, Sacramento's city fathers went crazy with planting elm trees. Throughout Midtown Sacramento, there are plenty of 100+ year old elms, though because they often drop branches on cars and a few have been afflicted by Dutch elm disease, we lose some every year. My street is lined with elms. In the Summer, they provide a tent of leaves, cooling the neighborhood on freakishly hot days. In the Fall, when the leaves drop, their bare branches provide a mood that dovetails nicely with the season's cold and fog. And on Winter evenings, after it rains, the crows gather.

The video above was taken a couple days ago. I was walking home. When I turned the corner onto my street, I was met by a rush of noise: The crows had returned. As I walked closer to my house, the caws grew in intensity and in volume. Thousands of crows dotted the elm's branches and hundreds soared from tree to tree. The cacophony was always present, but the volume rose and fell in waves. If there was a conductor orchestrating the swells, it was nowhere to be seen. I went inside to grab my camera and even behind closed doors the din could be heard clearly. On the street, I filmed the one minute my camera allows and went back in doors. As soon as dark hit, the sound was gone, as were the birds.

A note on the video: The image is a pretty good representation of what the scene looks like, however the sound is not. The volume of the crows is much louder than what I've captured, often drowning out the passing cars. When the video starts up, you might first think that what you are hearing is background noise with caws atop. That is not so. Other than the sound of automobiles - which should be pretty obvious - everything else you hear are the birds.

That was amazing-- thanks for sharing... The only thing I remember about Sacramento's bird was the Blue Jays that would sit outside my grandparents' windows and wake you in the morning... Frankly skies blackened with crows is more intimidating than Blue Jays were annoying...
Isn't the collective terms for a mass of crows "a murder of crows" - seems somehow appropriate! Great stuff.

Anyway, Scott, like your blog a lot. Inspires me to go and buy dodgy records from charity shops with the occasional hit!


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