It’s been a couple of years since we first adopted a slightly injured crow and learned in the process they are independent and strong creatures. We only had it a week before it was ready to rejoin its family.
Two days ago I was making my way to the shop when I noticed the generator on the front porch was sporting a kind of hood ornament. Looked an awful lot like another baby crow. Like someone had purposefully left it there, thinking “It’s not really fledged yet, but these suckers’ll take care of it.”
I half expected it to fly away as I got close to it, but no. It just sat there and waved hello. I groaned and took it back to the house, while it looked up at me and opened its beak for feeding.
I have terribly mixed feelings about habituating wild creatures to human contact. One, humans suck, and I never know if the book that tells them snakes and black cats and vultures are more evil than an MBA bearing hairgel-slicked male pastor/whore will also tell them to strangle a winged animal that happens to perch on their shoulder. Two, they have lives that are clearly defined by their own long established social orders, and it’s just creepy to fuck around with that stuff, especially when the animal in question is at least on par with cetaceae and the great apes in problem solving, geometric knowledge, tool use, and episodic memory.
But I couldn’t let my cats fuck with it, and I’m a sentimentitious git who already suffers from nightmares about shit he hasn’t even done. The mama crow must know this, and that’s why she left it on the generator. They’ve adapted seamlessly to humans, one of the few species that have benefited from our habit of clearing land, going belly up, and letting the woods come back in impenetrable belts of poverty pine, sweetgum, and hemlock.
This morning I left the door open on the cage where we’ve been feeding it, and when I got back a half hour or so later, it had walked/flown to a screened window to talk to the other crows flying around in the pasture. I bent my head down and told it to talk to its mama and daddy, and they’d be ready to come get it once it had eaten all of our cat food.
It started making sounds at me like small talk.
I thought I was just in some recursive loop left over from my early adulthood’s fatuous new age poisoning, but my wife said “No. This is weird. It’s talking to you.”

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