A year ago we lived in suburban Reston, VA, in a house located against some woods . I’d spent much effort there gardening, building stone garden stone steps, and planting trees where others had fallen. I took an impossible grass slope that made for several good slips and terraced it with stone walls, its nooks made homes to several chipmunks and bees. At the rear of our yard, past shrubs, trees and grass, beneath cover of trees runs a slow stream on its way to the distant sea.

It was there that I spotted our local murder of crows, the flock’s sentries facing different views carefully and vocally watching over 2 or 4 full sized companions washing themselves in the stream. A few squirrels were foraging , but the crows didn’t mind that. It was a beautiful day, the humidity was low and in the sun the air was warm. In the shade, there was a persistent breeze that brought its own sounds. If you live in the Washington area you should get out and enjoy the beautiful days. Even in an urban setting, if you take your ear buds out and listen you will soon key in on some specific bird sounds or even the abundant squirrel chattering away. With so many parks and green spaces, it’s possible to avoid many human and machine sounds and go for a walk . You can easily be yourself outdoors.

Anyway, a few minutes after I saw the crows washing, I saw them roosting in a tree against the sun. They sat there, flapping a wing or two, folding and again unfolding their wings. They were cawing away peacefully and with a sense of mission-accomplished. These crows are familiar here, they have this area figured out. There are several feeders around and lots of places where they can find some food. But there are foxes also, and these foxes are in it for any of the aforementioned critters and birds. If you like looking out the window while making coffee or washing dishes, you will eventually see a fox furtively run by carrying a limp-necked squirrel or other small critter.

Its not hard dialing-in with the local animal crew, every once and a while a foreign murder of crows shows up, or there suddenly appear large carrion birds that look like they have cousins that are dinosaurs. You might want to give individuals names, but I recommend that you don’t, since the turnover in actors can be quite fast.

Developer, Management Tyrant, Author of "Securing the Cloud", Startup bug, Friend to Animals, …