952 shopping days until 184.108.40.206.0 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.
The crows speak a different dialect here, in central Maryland, than they do in Oklahoma. It is a signal difference in the aural environment, one I noticed immediately. In Oklahoma, the crows caw. Here in Fred, the crows say something like “Kwaaak.” The call is pitched higher than a caw, more “nasal.” At first hearing, it sounded tinny to me, like n old toy, a noisemaker, the sort of thing once sold at the corner five-and-dime, that now would be brought to the toy guy on Antiques Roadshow to be assigned a value. Kwaaak.
Now that we have been in Maryland for five months or so, I have occasionally heard a regular caw from the local crows, but most of them do the five and dime version. I think this is because most of the local crows are fish crows, Corvus ossifragus, native to the east coast, with a few common crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos, the kind I know from Oklahoma, in the mix. According to my old copy of Birds of North America, the fish crow is slightly smaller than the common crow, but is “identified best by its voice.”
Visually, I can’t really see much difference. The neighborhood crows might be a bit smaller than the average Oklahoma crow. Maybe. The difference in the sound of their way of talking is almost jarring; the avian equivalent of a Bronx or New Jersey accent to ears tuned to a drawl. Kwaaak!
The resident crows stop me on my walks, their tinny calls like an insistent tap on the shoulder, reminding me that I am a stranger in a strange land.