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Friday, September 13, 2013

Roscoe, the Crow


The most interesting and unusual pet I’ve ever had was Roscoe the crow.  (I use “had” instead of “owns”, because no one really owns a crow).

A long time ago, I lived in Pinconning, MI, about one mile from Lake Huron.  My Uncle stopped by and asked if I would like a baby crow to foster.  He had discovered a nest that had been abandoned by the parent, and told me how really easy it was to raise a baby crow.  Of course, I said yes. 

I was young and newly married.  I had grown up in California and Guam.  I was a city girl, now living in the country on ten acres.  Weren’t crows those little black birds that hop around the parking lots at malls searching for scrapes?  I could raise one of those, no problem.

Uncle left a box about the size of two shoe boxes stacked on top of each other on top of the wash machine that sat in the screened in back porch.  There was a note attached, “Enjoy!”  I lifted the lid to see my new baby bird, only there was a hairless monster inside with its beak open and it stretched about three inches wide.  The thing’s body was the size of an orange!  What had I gotten myself into?

I slammed the lid shut.  What had Uncle given me?  After calling my Uncle and learning this thing was indeed the baby crow I said I would care for, I set about with a plan.  To nurture it to adulthood and set it free, only Roscoe stayed.

Roscoe thrived through that late spring when snow still covered the ground.  I fed him raw hamburger, bread dipped in milk, and various other food items.  As it turns out, crows are scavengers and will eat just about anything.

After Roscoe grew into a full feathered adult crow, he showed his awesome personality.  He loved to sit on the clothes line while I pinned clothes on to the line or took the dried ones off.  He never messed on the clothes but always worked at least one clothes pin loose.  He would fly to the picnic table and play with his treasure, tossing it in the air and catching the pin, until he got bored.

Whenever we sat at the picnic table to eat, Roscoe would claim the spot at the end of the table.  We would toss him crumbs and his favorite?  Kentucky fried chicken!

We had two geese in a little fenced yard.  My husband had put two foot high flashing around the bottom so varmints couldn’t get in at night and kill the geese.  Well, the geese loved to make little noises talking to their reflections in the flashing.  And Roscoe, using his vocal talents would copy the geese.  The geese would try and chase him down, but he always flew out before they caught him.

Whenever we drove to town, Roscoe would follow alongside the car for about half a mile and then fly back home to wait for us. 

Like all crows, Roscoe loved to collect shiny things.  My husband cleaned out the gutters and found Roscoe’s stash.  There were aluminum candy wrappers, silver flashers for fishing, bobby pins, ribbon and micro tools, screw drivers, wrenches etc., to name just a few of the many things he found.

Unfortunately, Roscoe dove at one of our neighbor’s granddaughters and scared her.  Roscoe liked to perch on shoulders and heads, and quite possibly that was all he was going to do.  But the little girl had shiny hair barrettes and he might have been after those.


So we found our faithful, funny and loveable crow a new home.  A widowed farmer, who lived a few counties away, took Roscoe home with him.  The farmer left the top of his barn open so Roscoe could fly in and out all he wanted.  The farmer loved our jokester and Roscoe loved him.

6 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

How cool! You've lived an interesting life...

Crows are an intelligent bird and fun to watch their antics. A park ranger said they work in teams to steal from tourists. While one poises for pictures, the other is going through purses and backpacks. I had the pleasure of witnessing this myself. I certainly view the crow and its relative the raven very differently. Much more than 'just a bird'.

Paty Jager said...

What a great story! My brother raised a magpie once, but it didn't turn out to be as loyal as Roscoe.

Diana Mcc. said...

Thanks for stopping by, Judith! I think of ravens and crows as being more than "just a bird" too.

Hi, Paty, My brother raised a blue jay back in MO. It still comes into their screened in porch to visit.

Melia Alexander said...

This is awesome, Diana! It might sound silly, but I had no idea crows could become attached to humans. Very cool!

Also, I had no idea you lived on Guam - I grew up there! :-)

Sarah Raplee said...

Finally, Blogger is letting me comment on posts! sorry to come late to the party.

I love all your stories about Roscoe! What an amazing experience to raise him and have him choose to stick around your home.

Great post!

Diana Mcc. said...

Hi, Melia,
Yep, Sarah Raplee, my sister, and I spent a lot of our school years on Guam. I graduated from J.F.K high school in Tamuning. I went to the University of Guam for one year, then back to the states.

Thanks for stopping by Sister dearest!