Barney crow was hungry, the weather was dry, ground hard. it was also very windy, there was no point digging under these conditions.
would be too deep. He remained in his nest, thinking Road kill, didn’t like the
idea of it, but his father told him that it was all right to think like a
lawyer, just not all the time. Paranoia can become you. In his nest, he waited
for his mother to return from the mornings visit to delaney’s yard. She’d have
a piece of brown bread for him. Mrs Delaney was a friend to the local crow
population. Whenever the weather was at the extremes, hot or cold, she always
left out food. Mrs delaney’s yard was also an opportunity for all the crows in
the neighbourhood to get together, spill the beans on what was going on. Worms
“I don’t know what to do with barney” squawked Rita crow, hopping around on delaney’s tarmac drive, helen crow, a cousin of hers hopped after her.
Jimmy crow was on sentry duty this morning. Perched on a tree overlooking Delaney’s yard, it was his job to observe the surroundings, a cat smooching around waiting to pounce, or worse, an eagle crow, the type of crow that all good living crows hate, a crow cannibal. Jimmy kept his eyes peeled, another simple morning, nothing out of place, the cat asleep on a window still, fine so long as she stays there.
“barney is old enough for sentry duty, he needs a job” squawked Helen crow,
“jimmy’s been doing that for years” answered rita
“he’s getting old, didn’t he miss the cat last week” squawked Helen
“the one that got old Charlie”
“poor Charlie” squawked rita jumping up and down on the spot enforcing the point.
“all feathers and bone, at least he died suddenly” answered Helen.
“how do you know that”
“the shock” answered Helen with a degree of certainty, “shock, it’s worse than stress” she added, continuing to pick some loose crumbs, the big bits gone.
“don’t bring him home anything this morning, just don’t” insisted Helen, picking away.
Rita gobbled the piece of fresh brown bread she’d saved for her only son, barney.
“see you tomorrow” she squawked, flapping her wings, moving slowly then all of a sudden airborne.
“thanks jimmy” she said, passing his tree. Jimmy squawked back, shaking a wing at her.
I’ll take my time, I wont go home straight she told herself. She flew high into the air, above her normal flying height. The gusts were exhilarating, sending her higher. She swooned with delight, she hadn’t done that in a while. High above her, Jeremy hawk was out looking for breakfast. He didn’t like bread crumbs or worms, preferred red meat.
He’d spent the early morning sharpening his claws the way a professional golfer cleans his golf clubs. Always ready, immaculately preened, his golden feathers shone like gold. The only good crow is a dead one he’d say. He waited to identify a lone crow flying, they usually fly in pairs or in great bunches, making it impossible to catch one, for as sure as you go after one of them, the others come after you, and it isn’t easy flying with a bird between your claws and a hundred other ones on your tail, not easy I tell you. Rita flew higher, a gust of wind lifting her at least a hundred feet. Normally she’d be more cautious, and stay within range of home or her friends. This morning she’d a lot on her mind, her troubled son, lazy crow barney. Jimmy’s work was done. Delaneys white speckled tarmac was now jet black, every crumb used up. He could go home now. Checking his feathers, he shook them a few times, then gently dived into the wind. Road kill would have to be breakfast. Road kill being the latest victim of a road traffic accident. She liked badger, his missus, he preferred rabbit though. Between moneygall and roscrea, there were two long stretches of road, making it safe to linger over a dead carcass while you choose the tasty bits. No right thinking crow ate the guts of any animal, just the red meat, the bit full of protein. Sweep high over crow lane, a high density population of crows, he swung left and headed out the moneygall road, his beady eyes trained to the road and hopefully some red furry bits. About one hundred feet over the road, he flew along, wings outstretched, hardly moving, a wind behind him. That looked interesting he thought, dipping his wings to take a closer look. Didn’t like cat, he flew on. He cheered inside, one less enemy to think about. Up ahead he saw two pals of his, in the middle of the road. She’s nice he thought, she being a neice of rita crow, a year younger than himself. If the missus ever gets taken early I’d try her he thought as he came into land.
Jenny crow went pink when she saw him. Her beak bloodied, she squawked him over.
“there’s plenty here” she said invitingly.
truck coming” squawked Anthony, from
the side of the road. Jenny and jimmy hopped over to the side of the road and
“that’s good luck” squawked jimmy as the truck ran over the dead fox’s head, squishing it into the road hard.
“what’s good about that” asked jenny trying to make small talk.
Jimmy shook his head, then began to smile. She’s not experienced at all he surmised.
“what happens when the bits get stuck into the road” he asked.
Anthony and jenny shook their heads.
This is too easy he thought, too easy indeed, an insult to a hawk like me he sighed. Jeremy prepared his dive, one swoop and I’ll have her, his plan of attack. A bit of a speed junkie, he’d risen five hundred feet above rita crow, down he went as fast as a torpedo. Squawk squawk squawk, crowed a small gathering of crows as rita flew over them. They all began to dive suddenly. You’d think they’d seen a ghost she smiled as she began a roll. Squawk squawk, she moved left, as Jeremy came in for the kill, missing him, his claws tearing the edges of her feathered wing. She dropped a hundred feet in shock. Jeremy was below her, on the rise again. Trees trees, she needed to find a safe house. Your mine, your mine you lucky bird howled Jeremy, furious with himself for missing the easy kill. Rita knew she’d escaped the first hit, her feathers ruffled, nothing serious. Jeremy waved as rita dived past him, and headed straight for a tall tree. With speed behind her, he’d never catch her, not today.
Anthony jenny and jimmy sat at a tree, and waited. A hundred feet from the site of the dead road kill fox, they waited.
“is this necessary” asked Anthony, anxious to get home and report in.
“wait” squawked jimmy.
Jenny preened herself, dusting her feathers, cleaning red specks off her beak. Anthony gave her the dirtiest of looks. She’s only doing it for your man.
Rita crow made it back to her nest on crow lane, a longish lane of trees, of varying height, all crow high rises. Rita lived in the last high rise. Flustered and sweaty, she was relieved to be home and in one piece apart from a feather missing on her left wing. Landing beside her nest, barney crow sat up.
“ma are you all right” he asked, seeing her a little dazed.
“ma are you all right, your only interested in food, he almost got me” she squawked.
“who” asked barney.
Jimmy smiled. A magpie had arrived at the scene of the road kill. He nudged jenny softly and said.
“he’s deaf, he wont hear the next truck coming until it’s too late”.
The three of them watched as felim magpie dug his beak into the road, chipping away at the fox head that was totally squished into the road.
“they’re greedy feckers” smiled jimmy noticing a truck in the distance.
“I’m going home” announced Anthony impatiently.
“wait” howled jimmy.
The truck got nearer and nearer, magpie stuck in the carcass.
“feck” shouted jimmy, as felim magpie escaped death.
“next time he might not be so lucky” he sighed, as the three of them lifted off the branch they were on and headed home.