It’s nesting time for crows again, and the power-cut warnings have gone out. This time of year they’re caused by urban crows building their nests on top of electricity poles, using metal coat-hangers to supplement the meagre supply of twigs they’d otherwise use. You know, those hangers that come back from the dry-cleaners and people use to dry shirts on the balcony. Turn your back for a moment and the crows are off with them, and they make short-circuits on the power lines. The electricity company are kept busy clearing them out, and meanwhile we’re warned not to leave unused coat-hangers lying about.
The city crow population has been going up and up, so in Tokyo they’re becoming a major problem, but they’re fascinating birds actually – one of the few species to have free time after making a living just to play. Putting golf balls on railway lines just to see what happens, dropping things on people they don’t like… last year I saw a crow funeral for one who had maybe been electrocuted – lying on the ground under a pole anyway. I wish I could speak their language.