During my free period on Friday, I was trying to get in a little birding. I was over by the elementary building with my binoculars when one of the elementary teachers walked by and narrowed her eyes at me. "Were you here yesterday?" she asked. "Because there was this huge black bird out here in the tree, squawking, the whole afternoon, and it was so loud!"
Something about her manner suggested that she blamed me, as the resident bird-lover, for inviting the White-necked Crow to perform. Because that is what was in that tree, though she didn't seem impressed when I told her. And I don't blame her, because they are very noisy.
The White-necked Crow, which I saw for the first time a few weeks ago in that very spot, is the Caribbean's largest corvid. You can see photos of it, and listen to how it sounds, here. It has very distinctive red eyes, and it's really big, 17-18 inches long.
Yesterday morning I went out before school and saw two White-necked Crows in the same tree, cackling away as the day began. I smiled as I looked at them, and I thought about how those distinctive bird sounds will be part of the kids' memories of these days, whether they are fully aware of them or not.