Crow Mournings: Honoring Fallen Flock Members
Discover the fascinating rituals crows perform to mourn and honor their departed. Learn about crow funerals and their unique ways of grieving for fallen members of their community.

What I learned from a dead crow.

A week ago I was leaving my driveway and found this beautiful crow next to a tree. I couldn’t just leave it there so I built a bed of flowers and put it next to a tree that I call the honoring tree. It’s where I put all the dead birds that I find on my property.

Usually, the birds don’t really talk to me once they’re gone, but this crow had things that it wanted me to know. It asked me to please make sure that it was left alone for three days. It said that it takes three days for the spirit to fully leave the body. Then it showed me that it didn’t want to be eaten by a four-legged. It wanted to be a bird again in its next reincarnation. It didn’t want to walk the earth, it wanted to fly. It told me if it would be eaten by a four-legged, it would become part of its spirit for the rest of its incarnation.

What was really astounding to me was that as long as it lay there, nothing touched it. That never happens. Usually, whatever I put there is taken during the night.

For the three days, it lay there, around a hundred crows called out to one another all around this property. It felt like an honor and protection for their fallen family member.

Every one of those three days, they would fly over the tree right before dusk and, in mid-air, turn towards the crow that lay still, caw, and fly off. Now that the three days are up, the crows are pretty much gone, and I gave it a resting place in my garden.

I’m so grateful for such an intricate experience with the crow family.

-Rachel Thompson