Caws, Creepers and a Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

Caws, Creepers and a Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

I have mentioned before about the lack of wild animals and the presence of farm animals on the streets of Ghana. It is still disconcerting for me to be walking along and suddenly be confronted with a goat crossing my path or a huge steer heading my way. My friends find it quite funny that I stare at sheep walking down the street as if it were an oddity (and it certainly is to me) and the fact that I take pictures of absolutely everything I see, especially those things which they take for granted.

But there is one consistent fact about the wild life (or lack thereof) in Ghana – there are three creatures that you will see virtually everywhere, any time and any place. These three are the crows, the lizards and the roosters.

Ghana CrowMy fascination with crows fascinates even me! I mean, come on now. They are all over, they are a pain in the butt, their cawing is really annoying, and they love garbage. (They are also, according to University of Washington scientists, some of the smartest birds around.) However that may be, who likes crows? Turns out that I do! Because these crows are quite different – they have a huge white patch across their bodies which makes them – dare I say it – somewhat beautiful? Arrrrgh, I must be going crazy with all this sunlight every day! Lol. But no kidding, these birds are everywhere! In fact, they may be as numerous as the U.S. crows and pigeons combined (and speaking of which, I have not seen any pigeons here). They are also quite large, and not very popular here because they tend to bother the young chicks who are precious to this economy. But they also at one time were quite revered, and are actually a symbol of one of the original Ashanti clans.

Ghana LizardThen we have the lizards. They are absolutely everywhere! On every outdoor surface you will find them crawling along, scooting over open areas, or sitting and panting in the hot sun. You will never escape them, and they will be where you least expect them. Actually, they love the stone walls that are so prevalent here, so you will often find them sitting on the top. Then, they love leaves and trees, so you will often see them (and hear them) scurrying up and down the trunks. Finally, they love any space at all, so if there is ready access from the outside to the inside along some hidden recess of your building, they will be inside quickly and quietly (although they have not bothered me inside…yet). They are fascinating creatures, and very colourful. Well, let me say that the males are very colourful. The female of the species is virtually one shade of…dull. This follows the pattern of many other animal/bird couples we can name, like the cardinal whose male is a deep and beautiful red, and whose female mate is a washed-out and unmemorable shade of pink.

roosterFinally, there is the rooster. And whoever made up the fallacy that roosters only crow at dawn has obviously never lived around them. Because they crow all the time – any time of the day or night. My first few weeks here, I thought I would never get to sleep for the crowing, and I can still be slightly awakened in the middle of the night by their noise. Those are some vocal animals! And they fly up into trees. And they fight over their territory. And they strut around with their mates and chicks like they own the world! And…you can find them anywhere here, including in your yard foraging for food!

I am awed by the crows, amazed by the lizards, and chuckling at the loud and rowdy roosters. I have learned to appreciate — and love — all three!