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There's been a murder in the neighborhood — a "murder," or gathering, of migrating crows.

It seems that hundreds or thousands of the large black birds decided to take up temporary residence in our reasonably mature trees in southeast Minneapolis and along the river. They didn't hesitate to leave their calling cards in driveways, porches, trees and on rooftops as well as on any hapless vehicle that couldn't find shelter in a garage.

It's been quite a sight, with trees blackened against the night sky. Crows that were not able to claim a reservation made do on rooftops and fence railings. With rows of these midnight black visitors lining the ridge line of a nearby church, one could see that their numbers were easily in competition with Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds."

Nasty, as cleanup this time of year is difficult. "Fowl" has taken on a new meaning. One of the neighbors was "bombed" on the way to dinner and needed to return home to regroup. She no doubt developed great sympathy for Tippi Hendren and her challenges in the movie.

There are rumblings in the association and surroundings regarding possible solutions, such as turning down security lights or possible use of lasers to ward them off. NIMBY!

But they are impressive, this gathering of the genus Corvus, known as the smartest birds in nature. And they have been moving along this route long before we claimed the land for houses and restaurants.

Perhaps we might take a deep breath and admire their ability to gather peacefully despite differing accommodations and a wide range of species within the grouping. As we humans struggle to maintain reasonable discourse and find common cause in our own gatherings, perhaps we should admire their ability to find common "caws" and travel as a group.

Perhaps, as well, we can simply accept and appreciate the presence of creatures Rachel Carson warned we could have lost in "Silent Spring."

A blanket of snow will no doubt be forthcoming. The scheduled window cleaning can be accelerated, and power washing can be done as soon as it warms.

And we could probably do well to redirect our concerns and problem solving efforts from the wildlife that needs to live among us to the wildlife on the streets and alleyways that do not.

I could no doubt go on with suggestions and reflections. But I need to go wash my car … .

Steven M. Lukas lives in Minneapolis.