Crow, Chicken, Rules The Roost!,
The warm, lyrical and thoughtful account of a family’s relationships with the wild birds who have consented to share house space with them is a beautiful read, by turns informative, reflective, mystical, tender and amusing.
Woolfson’s writing both details the individual relationships she has with each ‘companion bird’ who stalks her house – ‘Top Bird’ seems to be Chicken, the crow, and also makes some very telling points about mankind’s troublesome, often arrogant and blinkered attitude to the other species we share the planet with.
For example…..’bird brain’ is used as a term of abuse to indicate lack of intelligence. More modern understanding of the anatomy and physiology of avian brains has re-categorised specific bird brain structures and functions, leading to a newer understanding that relative to their overall size, some birds have very big brains indeed, particularly the areas of the brain associated with memory; and, particularly in some species – most notably the corvids, a big fore-brain, comparatively equal, given size, to primates!
The scientific and the personal reflection and anecdote seamlessly are woven together. I learned much from this book – even if I could never be as laid back and tolerant as Woolfson in my cross-species relationships. Corvids habitually ‘cache’ and hide all sorts of items, both edible and non-edible. Woolfson casually recounts how Chicken would cache pieces of flaked fish in the turnups of her jeans!
Off to respectfully share some time and space with the crows in my local park, if that’s OK with them!