The crows of London are black–suited and shy, whereas the crows of Berlin have grey sooty shoulders and hold your gaze – waiting for their moment. The hooded crows or Nebelkraehe (‘Fog–Crows’ in German) occupy the north and east of Europe and the black Carrion crows the south. A sharp line divides Europe, from Scotland in the north to Italy in the south, and the two tribes never seem to mix. Both clans inhabit our cities like a parallel society – moving about in a ‘flock’ – or in fact a ‘murder’ to be precise. Their social structure, squabbles and rasping calls seem to reflect the habits and manners of the species that built the streets.
At the end of winter, high in the branches of Tavistock Square, unseen by the hurrying Londoners below, the Carrion crows are busy repairing their scruffy bundles of twigs.