Back to Nature (Published on - Oct. 21, 2005)
Crow brings fire to the people
Photo by Rick Tremmel
A gregarious fish crow takes delight in the left-overs of a human. The clever bird showed little fear as humans approached to take this photo.
During the summer, the days were long and the sun’s warmth brought life to the meadows, the mountains and the people. Those days were long and plentiful.

The Long Snow’s Moon brought about darkness and unbearable cold nights. This year’s winter was especially cold. The winds blew hard and the snow was so deep it made it difficult for the hunters to hunt. Several Elders and young babies that couldn’t withstand the bitter temperatures had fallen ill and crossed over.

The people huddled together in the freezing, darkness of the night discussing what should be done. They decided that someone should go and ask Creator for help, but no one felt brave enough or had the abilities to fly up to Creator. Then they thought of Rainbow Crow.

Rainbow Crow was a beautiful sight with his glossy, rainbow colored feathers that reflected the sun by day and the stars by night. As well, Rainbow Crow was endowed with a most beautiful song. When asked, Rainbow Crow said he was honored and would go speak with Creator as the messenger of the people.

Rainbow Crow flew a long ways until he came to the sky place of Creator. He waited patiently upon a cloud turning so the sun would dazzle his rainbow colored feathers. Then he softly began to sing to attract the attention of Creator. When Creator investigated the source of the beautiful song, his eyes were indeed dazzled at the beauty of Rainbow Crow. Rainbow Crow lowered his head and spoke softly.

“Dear Creator, I have come with a message from the people. They are freezing in the cold and request that you bring back the summer.”

Creator told Rainbow Crow that he could not turn away the winter once he had brought it, nor could he return summer but he would gift the people fire to keep them warm in winter. Creator took a long stick and poked it into the sun twisting it, then handed it to Rainbow Crow cautioning, “You must travel swiftly before the flame burns out.”

Crow carried the stick in his beak and flew as fast as he could back to the people. Rainbow Crow delivered fire to the people as he promised. Unfortunately for crow the intense heat and sooty smoke from the burning sun ember blackened his beautiful feathers, while the caustic ash scorched his melodious voice forever.

This did not matter to the people. They were very grateful and honored crow and never again hunted him. To the people Rainbow Crow was still the most beautiful bird in the land and if you look at crow today you will see tiny prisms of rainbow colors hidden within the sooty black feathers.*****There are two species of crows in Florida: American crow and fish crow. They appear almost identical except the fish crow is slightly smaller, and it has shorter legs. The main difference is their calls. The familiar American crow makes a full voiced hoarse Caaw Caaw while the fish crow makes a distinctive Ah-uh.

The American crow prefers fields, and living within close distance of farming communities. The fish crow is more numerous along rivers, coastal regions and dumps. They often steal eggs and hatchlings from other nests and can be seen flying away with an army of smaller birds in chase. Crows are very intelligent birds capable of adapting to changing habitats and sources of food.

We recently found gregarious fish crows in a parking lot feasting on someone’s left over lunch delicacies. They showed little fear as we approached and allowed us within a few feet for these delightful, not so back to nature photos.

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