Friday, 3 August 2007

Quite a Flap

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In his recent biography, former rugby star Laurent Dumoulin recounted a tale which briefly astounded France in the mid 1970s. Dumoulin, aged eight at the time, was one of over twenty people who were sitting in a garden area outside a restaurant in his home city of Avignon when a crow flew down and perched on a wall. Nothing unusual in that, except that all the witnesses agreed that the crow was around four or five feet long, several times the size of an average crow. In all other ways, it seemed a normal crow. Dumoulin recalls, "It was the size of a large dog. I did not realise it was strange, because I had seen birds such as cranes and knew birds could be large, but the adults were all pointing and some of them seemed scared. Then it flew away."

There are no other known sightings of crows larger than c60-70 cm in length. Either the crow was an anomaly, or there was some sort of collective hallucination. Newspapers at the time reported the story jokily, suggesting the diners had had one too many glasses of red. "I certainly was not intoxicated,' says Dumoulin, "not at eight years old!"
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