Sunday 3 May 2015

Stone the Crows

I have something of a strange tale to relate. In something like a scene from Hitchcocks horror movie 'The Birds'. A member of the Canal and River Trust bankside staff recently discovered the corpses of over 200 dead crows floating in the Tinsley Canal at Sheffield. 

The location where the birds were discovered was close to the point where the M1 motorway crosses both the River Don and the Tinsley Canal. There was a great deal of concern expressed by the local population. Including a great deal of speculation that the Crow fatalities in such significant numbers, may have been as a result of an Avian Flu outbreak. Avian Flu as you may already know is capable of crossing over the inter species boundary to infect humans. The strain has a very high mortality rate for both humans and birds.

An Ornithological Pathologist was employed by CaRT to examine the remains of all the crows. After a stringent series of tests were carried out. Much to everyone's relief the Pathologist confirmed the problem was not Avian Flu. It seems that the cause of death was related to a series of vehicular impacts. During analysis it was also noted that there were varying colours of paint that appeared to be embedded in the bird's beaks and especially on their claws. 

The trust has since employed the service of a forensic science company specialising in paint analysis. It turned out that the analysis of the paint residue type, revealed that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with Lorry's. While a further 2% were killed by cars.

The problem was a perplexing one for the Trust. So the Trust then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine if there was a cause or correlation for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills. 

The Ornithological Behaviourist conducted extensive observational research at the location. The Behaviourist report concluded that crows which are a Corvid species habitually eat many different kinds of road kill. However, the Corvid are also known for having a significant level of intelligence when compared to other bird species. It seems that the crows always set one or more of their numbers to act as a look-out. To warn other crows of any approaching danger. The Behaviourist discovered that while all the lookout crows without exception could shout a loud clear "Kah" not a single one observed could actually shout "Lorry".

The Trust under the expert ornithological guidance of the chair of Trustees Tony Hales is now going to institute a further towpath educational scheme. One that is similar in scope to the CEO's educational scheme intended to educate the high speed commuters and time trial cyclists on the towpath. 

The Local waterways Partnership has now decided to employ an Ornithological speech therapist to educate the corvids. The speech therapist will be especially concentrating on the ones acting as look outs. It is thought that it will help the Corvids in clearly enunciating to other crows the word 'Lorry'. CaRT and the Partnership is anticipating equally spectacularly good results for both schemes.

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