The Sailing Crow
The sailing crow, Corvax marinus, is a bird of ill repute and strange fascination that lives off the coast of the Irish Isles. At home on fishing boats or cargo ships, the sailing crow is said to be of foul mood and nasty temper, and there are more than a few sailors who have lost a finger to it. Yet none of them would ever try to shoo it away.
Sailing crows are said to have the ability to sense storms, and warn the crew from impending disasters. Many stories are told all over Ireland of how they saved a vessel, and of how they let another one sail to its demise after the sailors had chased it away.
Prof. Ellen Paragoda, of the Dublin Institute of Occult Biology (DIOB), has been studying the animals for several years, and has found that the science backs up the stories. Indeed, a series of laboratory experiments have confirmed that the animals can sense changes in air pressure and humidity, as well as subtle shifts in temperature, which allows them to predict the weather.
“When we expose them to the same conditions that you would have on the sea when a storm is approaching, the get very agitated. They are unpleasant fellows to begin with, but they become downright nasty when they think they are in danger. I suppose some crews couldn't take it, and threw them out just before the storm hit. And others could see the warning signs for what they were, and got out of there in time.”
In recent years, due to advance in availability and capability of modern technology, the birds are less and less welcome on most ships. But there are still some sailors who believe that there is more to it than just science.