Many people dislike crows, which they see in neighborhood trees, on fences, or atop their roofs. These big black birds seem to be lurking, watching, waiting for some scavenging opportunity. Even naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt hesitates to express affection for them, for they are tough birds to love. In Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness, she admits, however, that she admires them for their ability to survive no matter what humans do to the environment. She even thinks they have much to teach us if we would only stop and observe.
Crows thrive in urban settings. Haupt reports that their numbers actually escalate in direct proportion to humans packed into cities and suburbs. They are sometimes called "rats with wings," but they really do not deserve such a bad reputation. As scavengers, they clean up human littering while also preying on some of the pests that we harbor. While it is clear that crows have no affection for people, we should appreciate all they do for us. They also seem to be very social animals. Often seen in groups, they will actually protect and feed their weak and ill members. Haupt even observed a breeding pair caring for a broken-legged offspring long after its siblings had left the nest.
Haupt is just the kind of author I admire - observant, thoughtful, concerned for environment. In Crow Planet, she recounts a period in which she studied the crows in her neighborhood and throughout the Seattle area. Environmentally sympathetic readers will enjoy her gentle book.
Haupt, Lyanda Lynn. Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness. Little, Brown & Company, 2009. ISBN 9780316019101.