The Black Crow

Young black crow

Image by Paul Brentnall at

Yesterday as I working at a client’s house I suddenly heard a knocking noise coming from one of the windows. Couldn’t work out what it was until I suddenly saw this gi-enormous gorgeous black crow calling and pecking at the window frame.

I am not a big fan of birds and am happier when they are several hundred metres away from me, however this particular bird seemed to be wanting to chat with me and so, after my client spent a few moments freaking out and touching all the touchable things in superstitious realms, intrigued, I thought I’d look up some folklore about black crows. Just for a bit of fun.

It turns out that what I saw might have actually been a young and fearless raven judging by the size. Apparently this would make a lot of people excited because they are relatively rare in the Southern Counties. I might be wrong though, to me all birds are feathery dinosaurs the size of T-Rex.

A quick Google search returned links to various pages with a bias towards Celtic and Native Americans folklore with the occasional mention of Greek and Roman mythology. It transpires that the negative meanings associated with black crows or ravens are mostly found in Welsh mythology and in relation to witchcraft and omens of death. This is thought to have been enforced during WWII when large flocks of crows were seen feeding on the flesh of dead soldiers on the battlefields.

However according to Native American tradition crows and ravens are symbols of intelligence, fearlessness, higher perspective, adaptability and mischief. Some tribes herald the raven as “the bringer of light that escaped from the darkness of the cosmos”. And because of that they are thought to be, in fact, bringing news that “danger has passed and good luck will follow”.

Since the raven was cawing at me I am happy to believe this and will make sure to tell my client to update her book of superstitions to include all the good things ravens are famous for so that the next time he comes round she can carry on training and might even be able to finish her workout in good time instead of having numerous “touch wood” breaks.

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