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Janice Boland

Mrs. Murphy's Crows

Growing up I never saw a crow. The birds of Brooklyn were sparrows, robins, blue jays, and cardinals, but no crows.

I knew crows from my books. I loved the stories in Johnny Crow’s New Garden, The Tailor and The Crow – Heigh Ho the Carrion Crow.,., ,  Aesop’s Fables, and in Native American Tales.

Even in the summertime, up in the country, there was not a crow in sight — only catbirds, thrushes, meadow larks, gold finches, pretty little wild canaries, and blue birds.

I was crow-deprived until I came to the Hudson Valley. 

There were crows everywhere — in trees, on the roads, in my driveway, — cawing and congregating high in the pine trees, conversing and communicating in their noisy crow language, chasing owls and hawks through the skies.

I became fascinated with crows. I learned that they are intelligent, strong, funny, bold, and have problem-solving and communication skills. 

They never forget a face and they teach their crow friends to identify a mean person.  When a crow dies, its crow neighbors congregate and hold a crow funeral, and older sibling crows help their parents raise the chicks. 

Telling my sister how much I admired crows, she scoffed and told me about her not so wonderful experience with the crows of New Jersey, and how her students came to her rescue.

Her crow tale was the inspiration for Mrs. Murphy’s Crows. 

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