Sunday, January 20, 2008

The missing keys

On Wednesday down at the little river, a crow was in the water. It was behaving rather oddly.

"What are you looking for?" I asked.

"My keys," said the crow. "They were RIGHT HERE, or at least around here somewhere. I'm SURE of it."

"Oh," I said.

"I will not give up until I find them because I know I am not mistaken," said the crow. "I LEFT THEM RIGHT HERE SOMEWHERE AND DON'T TELL ME TO STOP BECAUSE I KNOW THEY ARE HERE AND IF I LOOK FOR LONG ENOUGH I WILL FIND THEM."

"Oh," I said, again. I didn't know what else to say. The crow sounded almost dangerously obsessive.

"Found them!" said the crow triumphantly.

"That doesn't look like keys to me," I said.

"They're stuck to this leaf," explained the crow.

He took his find over to a nearby rock and put it down.

He gargled.

"Watch very carefully," he said. "I'm going to wash the leaf off, and you will be a witness to the magical moment when my keys appear from underneath."

He picked up the clump carefully.

Then he dipped it in the river.

The leaf was washed away.

"Eh? This isn't my keys!" he said.

"Quite tasty, though," he added.

He went off to resume his hunt for the keys.

"All right, that wasn't them after all," he said. "BUT I KNOW THEY ARE AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE!"

He didn't seem to mind getting into quite deep water.

"I MIGHT have dropped them out here," he said. "I flew over here earlier today."

After a while another crow came along to help.

A gull came and asked them what they were looking for.

"Keys," said the first crow, shortly.

"Oh," said the gull. "I don't suppose you want this, then."

"Well, actually – " said the crow, but it was too late. The gull swallowed.

Another gull came came to see what was going on.

"Aren't you going to help?" asked the crows.

"No," said the gulls. "We'd rather watch."

It looked like it was going to be one of those stories that never end, so I went to work.


kenju said...

Another fabulous photo-journalistic look into the life of crows (one of whom seems to be rather grouchy!)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your riverside photo-stories.
You must have a shelf's worth of children's books by now, if only you'd approach a publisher.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I never thought crows would wade that deep. Good photo and good story! Thanks!

Badaunt said...

Keera, I think this is new behaviour for them. At least, I never noticed them doing it before late last year. I wonder if they learned it from watching the water birds. It can be pretty funny to watch, and they're VERY obsessive about it. I was watching for an hour, and they never stopped.

Keera Ann Fox said...

I take it that whatever is not keys, is tasty enough to make like water fowl. :-)