I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


For most of my working life I was a  Road Safety Officer. My work was mainly training and publicity, but some accident investigation was involved and I thought I would post the following report to show the types of thing we got up to:

The Highways Agency found over 200 dead crows on the M4 motorway near Bridgend and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.

A Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was NOT Avian Flu.

The cause of death appeared to be from vehicular impacts. However, during analysis it was noted that varying colours of paints appeared on the ...bird's beaks and claws. By analysing these paint residues it was found that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with lorrys, while only 2% were killed by cars.
 The Agency then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills. The Ornithological Behaviourist quickly concluded that when crows eat road kill, they always have a look­out crow to warn of danger. They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout "Cah", not a single one could shout "Lorry"



Roderick Robinson said...

To everyone's relief other than the crows', I suspect. A dead crow is a dead crow.

Little did you know that crows too have a road safety officer (but the job doesn't rate capital letters in Crowland). Given that the crow vocabulary is - as you indicate - smaller than some humans, but by no means all, his report was much more succinct: "Stay the hell out of South Wales."

In fact crow-car crashes are the result of unbending physics, notably that sub-division known as aerodynamics. Crows are elegant flyers, good at gliding. But an aerofoil section that supports good gliding is far less efficient during take-off and crows need time to reach what human aviators call "unstick". Their departure from a roadkill site appears always to be in the direction they are facing, and for several wing-flaps after. Thus if they are dining on the left-hand side of the road (in the UK) and are facing the right-hand side they seem compelled to take the longer, more dangerous option to get away.

Do aviation matters interest you? It just so happens I've.... Ah, I see you don't do commercials unless the products involved are more than forty years old.

Avus said...

You WERE that Ornithological Behaviourist!

If stuff has lasted forty years it deserves a commercial.

Tom said...

This report is just unbelievable enough to be believable. :)

Avus said...

I know,I know....

Roderick Robinson said...

On my blog home page there is this (sort of ) guarantee: I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.

I'm not sure what your record is on returning to a post once visited; anyway I've done a monster reply to your most recent comment on "Sand-strewn salons, cool and deep" (and for which I would have expected an additional poetic response).

Ignore it at your peril.

Vita said...

This story was very sad, so why am I so amused? I feel guilty.