Posted: January 11, 2015 in Chat
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It starts off a little complicated. A neighbour called us: they had found a young crow in their garden, could we take it?
Ok, we’ll give it a go (!?).

He got strong and well, so we contacted a bird centre to take him and slowly re-introduce him to the wild.
Then we got a phone call: ‘The crow you brought in is going to have to be put down….’ So we dashed down by bus and taxi. There he was as fit as anything in a cage; but on the floor was this poor scraggly one with hardly any wing feathers and far too small. She had parasites which had permanently stunted her growth.
Mistaken identity of course. But could we leave this one to be put down?
Of course not (!?).2013-05-18 14.00.19

We have had her about ten years now.
I built a small aviary – we insisted she be outside for her health. She values that independence.
We treated her for the parasites, fed her by hand every two to three hours during the day. My wife got up early and helped her practice and build up confidence getting airborne. New feathers grow only once a year.
It paid off, she can fly now – not well enough to be released. And her beak grows twisted if not regularly clipped. We have since taught her to wear it down herself.

Meet our crow.

2013-05-18 13.59.11
Over time she has had companions come and go. Other crows – other fed-by-hands but in the end released – and, a mistake this, a jackdaw. Her calls bring wild crows down; we put food on the top of her aviary so she can have company.  Now she has a regular but small and changing clientele.
They change because, alas, in the wild they do not live too long due to predators, which includes humans with guns. Also when new crows are born they are chased off once capable of feeding themselves.

She had a very playful period – loved anything blue. Also yellow for a period. We gave her blue paper; it always ended up in her water dish. We gave her blue aquarium pebbles, they were stowed away in little holes everywhere. Then we would see her carry them around in her beak to another safe hole.

She would utter soft calls when she wanted us, and very soft trills when she was happy with what we had done for her. She also shouted at us full in the face if we were late or forgetful.
If no crow friends come down to see her for ages she also can get rather annoyed and shout blue murder at them.

She now has a bigger aviary.


I surprised myself: I have never been craft-handed, and it is only basic, but… yes, I think I did a good job.


The step ladder is for the feeding the wild crows on the top. We get spotted now when we are in the garden, and called at from trees if they want feeding.

The side cover is to protect from cats and bad weather. Bad weather is all very well when you are a fully grown and robust crow, but when you’re not…. One Winter we had to bring her in. Ice had thawed then refrozen in her feathers against her skin: my wife woke up in the early hours of the morning with the sudden thought she needed us. She was right.
She adapted to indoor life well, probably remembered her first few months as we nursed her: crows have long memories.

They are also very clever.
She has a shallow plastic bath she bathes in. We fill it and she toddles over, sits on the side; we say Here’s your water, and it is as though she tries to copy our speech, definitely a Water there. And she snaps it as it flows in, playing with the stream. It’s a joy to watch her bathe – goes everywhere, but it’s great fun.


She won’t like me telling you this, but, ten year’s on, and she still likes the night supper feed by hand. After dark, of course, when none of the other crows can see. Warmed drinking water in the Winter, and a little time spent with her before she settles down properly for the night.

  1. Daedalus Lex says:

    Hail to your crow, “flying the black flag of herself” (Ted Hughes, “From the Life and Songs of the Crow”).

  2. Very kind of you, thanks. I’ll pass it on to her. She is more benign and kind-hearted than Mr Ted’s constructed crows

  3. batgurrl says:

    The love of a crow is so powerful. Ellie captured my heart years ago and now I can’t get enough of my black beauties. She flew away but not in my heart. So I understand your love. R

    • We have let a few go as well. They kept coming for feeds on the top – always knew because of their low flight from being in the aviary. One brought her new family back. Then they all went, and new crows moved in.
      You do bond so closely with them.
      Here’s to Ellie and all the others!

  4. Loved your story “Crows.” It is wonderful how humans and birds can bond and how you have enabled a bird who would otherwise have died too soon to live and flourish in your care. This story is so timely for us as we have just published a children’s chapter book which would also be of interest to bird lovers of all ages. Check out our blog post of January 15th, “An of our Latest Book: Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie. It tells the story of a boy who raises two very different birds, a wingless budgie and a raven who arrives as an almost-dead chick.

  5. Sue Vincent says:

    Crows are beautiful creatures… straggly or not. Your story made me smile…

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