From the tip of a crow's beak to the end of its tail is a single curve, which changes rhythmically as the crow turns its head or bends toward the ground. Foraging on their long, powerful legs, crows appear to glide over the earth; they take flight almost without effort, flapping their wings easily, ascending into the air like spirits.Nevertheless, the whiskers around their beaks and an apparent smile make crows, in a scruffy sort of way, endearingly 'human'. In a vast range of cultures from the Chinese to the Hopi Indians, crows are bearers of prophecy. Because of their courtship dances and monogamous unions, the Greeks invoked crows at weddings as symbols of conjugal love. Crows are among the most ubiquitous of birds, yet, without being in the least exotic, they remain mysterious.This book is a survey of crows, ravens, magpies and their relatives in myth, literature and life. It ranges from the raven sent out by Noah to the corvid deities of the Eskimo, to Taoist legends, Victorian novels and contemporary films. It will be of interest to all people who have ever been intrigued, puzzled, annoyed or charmed by these wonderfully intelligent birds.
Reviews and Awards:
- Published in Turkish, Korean, Chinese (twice), Russian, Arabic, Russian, and French translations;
- "This authoritative and well-researched volume is an ideal source of reference for anyone who has ever been intrigued, annoyed or charmed by these wonderful birds" (Matt Smith Cage and Aviary Birds);
- "A fascinating and delightful book... an excellent read for anyone interested in this group of birds."(British Trust for Ornithology)
- "the sort of mongraph I treasure and seek out, a work that draws together around a totem animal centuries of relevant lore, a richness of iconographic treatments and the best natural history and natural science available to a lay researcher and engaged author" (David Scofield Wilson H-Net Reviews);
- "In this vivid and enjoyable meditation on crows in art, literature and history, Sax . . . gives the genus Corvus the enthusiastic treatment it deserves." (Publishers Weekly, June 7, 2004);
"Boria Sax has assembled a glorious romp of a book about the Crow family, and our human responses to it. . . . This little book is a visual delight, from its striking black, white and red cover to its plentiful illustrations, many of which are from Western art and natural history, but also there is a range of images from around the world - Native American, Japanese, Chinese and Arabian. And the textual references are equally eclectic: myths and stories from many cultures, and from familiar European writers, from Pliny to Poe and Ted Hughes. . . . I couldn't put this book down." (Janey Verney, The Sacred Hoop, summer 2004);
"In Crow, Sax elucidates the nuanced and sometimes illogical or contradictory cultural resonances of these birds. Crows are usually black, so have frequently been associated with mystical powers: their darkness. their slouching posture, an their love of carrion, have helped to make crows symbols of death, yet few if any other birds are so lively and playful." Randy Mallamud, Parallax Reviews, Dec. 16, 2005);
" This authoritative and well-researched volume is an ideal source of reference for anyone who has been intrigued, annoyed or charmed by these wonderful birds." (Matt Smith, Cage and Aviary Birds, Feb. 7, 2004);
"Sax's book roams divertingly over the scientific and cultural history of the 'corvid' family, which includes the carrion crow, the raven, the rook and the jackdaw, tracing ambivalent responses to the mischievous birds." (The Guardian, Nov. 22, 2002).
“One of the great pleasures of garden birdwatching, for me, is seeing the behavior of the highly intelligent corvid family, and here Boria Sax looks at how they have been at the center of myth, culture and religion throughout human history, often as birds of ill omen or at least negative associations. It’s an easy read despite the great wealth of material included, and the author keeps things grounded in accurate observation of the behavior of real-life birds. Enjoyable and educations for birders at all levels.”
Birdwatching, Jan. 2018, p. 90.
Translation of Crow into French
Translation of Crow into Chinese
Translation of Crow into Turkish
Translation of Crow into Arabic
Translation of Crow into Korean