Corvus brachyrhynchos

American crow
joni newcomer



Friends of my parents, Pat and Bud, had a crow named Charlie. Charlie chose to hang out on a regular basis on their back patio in the middle of a rural Kansas town. He’d join them at the picnic table or perch on the back of a chair as they ate dinner. He’d fly up to the basketball ring on the garage and talk to them as they sat out back for social hour. Charlie would also fly up to Bud, who had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket, perch on his shoulder and carefully pluck one cigarette out and carry it away. He seemed to love my parents’ friends and enjoy their company on a regular basis. Perhaps this is where my love of crows began.


   Preening in the treetops

   Sunning atop a light pole

   Gliding over fields of chili and cotton

   Cautiously sitting alongside the highway waiting between cars to get roadkill               for breakfast


   Caw caw (Hello there!)

   Chatter chatter (What’s going on down there?)

   Rrruff! (Checking in with the family across the parking lot)

   Caw caw caw (flying, moving out for the day)


   Acrobats in flight

   Dipping and somersaulting

   Birds of derring-do


   Life-long mates, separated only by death

   Loners who also gather in flocks of 50,000 or more



   Smart as a whip (able to remember faces)

   Mimicking sounds of other birds, animals, and even car alarms

   Crow medicine: open ourselves to change




joni newcomer is a naturopathic doctor as well as an interior architect in Las Cruces, NM. She retired from New Mexico State University in 2018 after 11 years as manager of sustainability and environmental policy. Dr. newcomer now practices as an ND and energyworker with her company Health Alternatives in Las Cruces.