Look up ‘Crow’s Nest’ on Google and there is a host of accommodation or eating establishments listed bearing that name. The ‘crow’s nest’ I had in mind is a structure on the highest part of the main mast of a sailing ship used as a lookout point. Naturally, with sailing ships fading from memory and stories about them hardly making a wave, this is not surprising.  Until radar was developed, this high position ensured the best view for lookouts to spot approaching shipping hazards – it is the view which many of the above-mentioned establishments have that may have a loose connection with the names chosen by their original owners. This nest commands a 360° view of its surroundings.

Apart from nesting in trees, Pied Crows (Corvus albus) have adapted to nesting in a variety of tall structures, such as telephone poles and windmills – which this one has chosen.

Their sturdy bowl-like stick nests may also include wire and string and are lined with soft materials found in the area.

The nests are re-used. This is what the nest looked like two years ago:

The first stanza of the poem, The Crow’s Nest by Alexander Thomas, while focusing on the nautical meaning, seems to aptly describe this Pied Crow’s nest in the Eastern Cape of South Africa:

Sailing in time,

In the hidden depths of space,

Compressed in the unconscious,

Sailing to uncharted seas,

Floating in dreamscapes,

Warm currents,

Waves of joy,

A caressing glow,

Timeless faces in a timeless place,

Solitary notes of forgotten shores …

34 thoughts on “THE CROW’S NEST

  1. Many many years ago, when older cousins/aunts came back from the parlour, my cross grandfather would dismiss their elaborate hair-dos as “crow’s nest”!


  2. How interesting that these crows nest in such an open area. Here the American Crow ‘Corvus brachyrhynchos’, is very secretive in their nesting. There has been a pair nesting in my neighborhood in some pine trees. They don’t like people looking at the trees even. I think they are fascinating creatures. So smart and very clever. You are lucky to be able to watch these intelligent handsome birds.


  3. Lovely photos and an amazing example of a crow’s nest. I do find it a sad comment on modern society that the first thing you find when you Google crow’s nest are the myriad of commercial concern bearing that name, rather than having the actual definition and history of the phrase first. But that’s how online searches work, I guess. Eventually the original meaning and explanation will be lost to society, known only to language experts and academia. Time marches on and language evolves.


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