Monday, January 14, 2008

Dead Crow on the Sidewalk

A couple of days ago, B and I found ourselves having to detour around a dead crow slumped in the middle of our neighbor's sidewalk. Ew! Gross! Ick! Yuck! How did it die? West Nile virus? Avian flu? And is it shedding virus like crazy in all directions? That sidewalk is a major thoroughfare for dog walkers, little kids on bikes, sketchy characters carrying poorly concealed tall boys in brown paper sacks, neighborhood cats, and me! We don't need no stinkin' crows getting in our way.

That frickin' thing was still there festering away as of yesterday, infecting (or not) goodness knows what. I told myself that if it was still there today (Monday), I'd find out what city bureau to call to have the carcass removed.

I guess I was procrastinating this morning, because I made searching out the dead-crow removal number my top priority. It was surprisingly easy to find. Portland, it so happens, is really on top of things when it comes to picking up dead birds. Here's the number in case you ever find a dead crow (or magpie or jay) on your property (Multnomah County residents only): 503-988-NILE.

Not too scary that the number spells out NILE! Jeez. I felt compelled to find out a bit more about West Nile virus, now that there was (potentially) a giant heap of it not 30 feet from our house. Turns out that birds cannot transmit it to humans (at least according to the one source I checked). By the way, I did all this before I had actually checked to see if the crow was still on the sidewalk. It wasn't. D'oh! Anyway, for future reference, I now know what to do should this problem ever crop up again. And it could.

You see, this was the second dead crow I've encountered in the past couple of months. Last fall, I was walking along in another neighborhood and saw a crow cawing away (the way they do) while perched on a power line. Suddenly it just plummeted to the ground with a hideous black thud. Dead. (I was so astonished that I crossed the street to investigate [without getting insanely close, of course].) Spooky and freaky the way that happened. I assumed that the crow had somehow gotten itself electrocuted, but I did some half-assed research later that pretty much indicated that it was impossible for crows to electrocute themselves. So. There may be some kind of crow epidemic afoot. Beware.



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