Friday, August 17, 2007

Is Irc a New Caledonian Crow?

As Hem's constant companion Irc keeps saying (with some justification) in The Crow: "I am a clever crow". And today there's a BBC story that suggests that perhaps he was the ancestor of New Caledonian crows, which showed marked intelligence in a test posed to them by scientists. It seems they are especially ingenious tool-makers.

Irc himself is actually based on some pet magpies I had as a child, which we rescued from certain death when they fell out of their nests onto the roadside. We never clipped their wings, and they'd stay for a year or so before flapping off to start their magpie lives. Australian magpies, unlike the European versions, are members of the crow family. They make charming, intelligent and funny pets, and are brilliant mimics.

6 comments:

Chris' Girl said...

Isn't it funny how little pieces of your life and experience go into making a story or a book? I find that my own opinions about people or life in general seem to leak onto the page - so when someone else pre-reads the story I feel that I am baring my soul to them - and in a way, I am.

Alison Croggon said...

This is why no experience - however useless or boring it might seem at the time - is wasted if you're a novelist!

eowyn336 said...

You are totally right, Alison (and chris' girl too, (because you brought it up). Anyway, Alison, I was wondering if there are any parts of the book which you feel really "close" to because it relates to something that has happened to you. Or, a specific character that you would think as yourself (Silvia?)-not her age of course. BTW, what is Silvia's age??

Alison Croggon said...

Hi Eowyn - Silvia would be about the same age as Cadvan, Dernhil and the rest, ie, around 70 or 80...

I feel close to all my major characters. I guess because in order to write them, you have to imaagine what it's like to be them.

Richard Laxton said...

I love your work so I know this is going to sound petty but you are mistaken about Australian Magpies being of the order Corvidae. Actually it is European Magpies that are in the Crow family while Australian Magpies are in the family Artamidae which includes things like currawongs and butcher birds.

Back on the topic of your writing, I am very much looking forwards to the next book in the Pellinor series. I must know how everything turns out!

Alison Croggon said...

I never mind being picked up on mistakes, Richard, though I'm sure I read that fact in What Bird Is That? (The Australian bird bible). Maybe I was confused over Australian crows really being ravens...