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The short, sad story of Malinconia the crow

"I have a baby crow in my car, and I don't know what to do." It's not the kind of call you expect to get from your sweetheart. And yet, that's the call I got. Apparently a baby crow was lying in the road dazed, and pyr8queen picked her up.

She took a long time getting home after that, and so I was concerned that the baby crow had delivered a message from Odin, and gone off on an adventure, but no - it was traffic. She tucked the crow in a basket and brought her in. We hustled into the bathroom and shut the door so that the cats wouldn't get too curious. She wasn't really a baby at all, if she wasn't full grown it was awfully close. Her feathers were all very clean and a gleaming perfect black - but her neck and right shoulder were at an odd angle. Her right eye was swollen shut, too. I'd never had a chance to examine a living crow so closely - I didn't realize how perfectly round their heads are, how much their beaks look like a polished piece of ebony wood, how unmarred black their feet and talons are. She was pretty. Beautiful.

But dying - she was almost motionless, even when we put some bread crumbs and water under her (gleaming, black) beak. She fluttered her wing a little, and when she rolled her head around, it was clear her neck was broken. I don't know if she was terrified because two humans were handling her, or not. I suppose she must have been, though it's terrible to think that our efforts might have made her last hour less easy, rather than more.

Anyway, we crouched on the bathroom floor and just sat with her, silently. Occasionally she would flutter a little, or try and roll her head. Her feet made feeble scrabbling motions. We put her down in the basket, and she tried to roll her head around. She opened her mouth, and her tongue moved, but there was no sound. She regarded us with her good eye, and slowly blinked. She was still for a while, and pyr8queen went to put the rest of her stuff away.

In my head I decided she was named "Malinconia" and I sang "Malinconia Ninfa Gentile" to her, but changed the words to "Malinconia Corva Gentile" (Melancholy, gentle crow" rather than "Melancholy, gentle nymph". I stroked her feathers while I sang to her.

She spread her wings, as if she were taking off in flight. Her feet slowly, so slowly, cocked back to the position she would be in, in flight. Her head straightened. She was in a posture of flight.

And then she was gone.

We took her out to the beach, and sent her out to sea. We watched for a while as the falling tide carried her out, then in, then out again.

And that was Malinconia the crow.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
The corvids in our area carry West Nile Virus. (Don't believe me? Try calling the county and telling them you have a dead crow or scrub jay in your yard and see what happens.) You should not ever handle them, especially without gloves and a mask. The bird may well have ended up hurt because it was ill to begin with.

Birds necks get very floppy when they are weak- if it was moving at all, it didn't have a broken neck.

You need to sanitize wherever you had that bird in your house and get rid of whatever box or container it was in.

Sep. 25th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
We wore gloves, and washed the basket. All's well.
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
That's so beautiful and so sad!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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