Friday Favourites 8: A Case for Corvids

Max the Magpie
Max the Magpie

Corvids are—hands down—my favorite birds. While many people find crows and ravens creepy and think magpies are just dirty scavengers or harbingers of doom, I’ve always been a fan of their playful personalities and incredible intelligence. The name of my (currently sidelined) design business is the Spanish word for Magpie (Urraca). I’m willing to consider the possibility that part of why I love The Raven Cycle so much is because (1) it’s called The Raven Cycle, and (2) Ronan Lynch has a pet raven named Chainsaw. And one of the things I love about New Mexico is the prevalence of these birds–there were always enormous ravens or mischievous magpies to keep me entertained when there weren’t any kids at the pony barn.

There was one magpie in particular who loved to hang out with me. I called him Max, and we became buddies. He would frequently sit on the fence and watch me while I fed the critters or scooped manure. One day, while I was cleaning out the burro pen, he landed closer to me than ever before.

“Hey Max!” I said, leaning on my pitchfork. “How’s it going?”

He cocked his head and gurgled at me.

“You don’t say?” I said.

He gurgled again, hopped closer, and looked me right in the eyes.

You will never be able to convince me that that bird wasn’t trying to carry on a conversation. So we did. I’d say something completely ridiculous, and he’d chatter back at me and hop a little closer. To this day, it remains one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had with a wild animal—and with my history of catching snakes, fending off bears, and fostering baby deer, squirrels, geese, and rabbits, that’s saying something. (Wow, that sounded an awful lot like bragging. Sorry…)

So when my friend Mariah shared this article about a girl in Seattle who is such good friends with the local crows that they bring her gifts, I was both amazed and insanely jealous. Seriously, the part about the lens cap at the end is exactly why I love corvids so much. They are incredible creatures.

And now I have a new life goal.

(P.S. I’ve recently discovered a new corvid to add to my favorites list: the Jackdaw. They’re like crows, but a tad bit bolder and blessed with lovely grey plumage. They are the George Clooneys of the Corvidae family.)