Death of a Crow

So, I was just settling in at my work desk (next to the window to my garden) to sit on my ass, listen to today’s Revenge of the Cis, and maybe – just maybe – do some actual goddamn work.

But first: I was snarking with my brother via text about the latest East Van shit band doing East Van shit band things on my Facebook, no doubt in a desperate attempt to regain relevancy so their inevitable coming album might get them back into the Top 10 rather than the Top 100 like their last steaming pile of shit.

In other words, procrastinating, and, as is often the case when engaged in my favourite pastime, I was looking out into the garden instead of ahead at my work, thereby well positioned to catch the big flash in the corner of my eye that went with the big boom up and to my left.

I instantly knew it was something to do with the power line, and visions filled my head of a transformer fire one night at the old jam space at Main and East 2nd in Vancouver that started with the same sort of loud boom… shit, it’s been rainy this year but that pole is still very close to a big cedar… but as soon as the thought was formed I realized there is no transformer on that pole, just wires, and I saw a dark mass fall to the ground.

Oh. A bird.

I headed out to look along with half the neighbourhood and and we all looked and silently paid our respects for a moment or two before discussing what happened and the need to call BC Hydro as there was some connector thing swinging in the breeze meaning someone’s power was now out, even though mine only had a hiccup. Some had thought it was a rifle shot but others saw the bird fly into the wire.

We dispersed back home and I noticed the eerie silence. My internet was momentarily out as the modem rebooted itself, so no Royce and Mersh talking, and it was too warm for my furnace to rumble along either. I went around checking my various surge protectors and noted one had an indicator light about BUILDING WIRING FAULT. Also I had one tripped breaker that was unlabeled.

Shit… I texted my brother to have him get Dad (a retired electrician) to call me or come over and investigate this.

By this point the crow’s mate had come screeching over, perched above the body and going back and forth between the big cedar and the cross brace of the hydro pole and my neighbour’s crabapple, flying away in silence then coming back to shriek again. This went on for 10 minutes and I think other crows came in and took turns paying respects and shrieking, but not as loudly as the mate.

And now the RCMP were slowly circling the block; presumably someone who hadn’t seen the birdstrike heard the boom and thought it was a gunshot and reported it as such. I went out in the guise of pulling a couple weeds in the unnerving silence now that the crows had dispersed like the (human) neighbours had, and on the next circle of the block one cop stopped in front of my house.

He must have seen the dead crow lying on the ground and figured it out on his own, but still waved me over and asked if I’d heard anything and I told him the story and he radioed it in as a hydro issue.

This was when my dad arrived and immediately pointed up to the wires. “Coupler’s off, someone’s got their power out.” (Once upon a time, back in the ’60s in Manitoba, that would have been his job to fix.)

He looked over at the dead crow too, along with some returned crows who were in the trees watching but not making noise now, then came in to investigate the surge protector, which seemed OK but then there were some cans of worms opened about grounds and whatnot… probably amounting to not much considering this house is 119 years old and he already more or less rewired most of in in the first couple months I had possession before all the other work had been done.

And then we heard the rumbling of a big truck coming. BC Hydro arrived and fixed the coupler and bagged up the body to take away.

My wifi is back up, and the backyard songbirds have resumed their usual chatter, but there’s still a bit of an eerie human silence here, in between my dad muttering under his breath.

If the crows are also muttering to themselves, they’re doing so out of earshot.