When I was young, I had a pet crow. I had spotted a nest high up in a white pine tree, so I climbed up into the smaller branches one day and picked a young, black-feathered bird from the nest. That wasn’t easy with momma trying to protect her young, but I made it.
I built a cage and fed him what I thought was a good diet for a young bird. Insects, bits of hamburger and other assorted tidbits became his regular source of nourishment. I had heard that you could teach crows to talk, but I never had any luck with that. He would start cawing at me, though, when I got off the school bus each night.
That bird grew, rode around on my shoulder and picked up anything that was shiny. He never flew off, but after a couple of years and several attempts, I released the crow into the wild. Every once in a while, I’d see him sitting on a branch in the big, old pine tree next to the house. I’m sure he remembered me before flying off with the flock. Maybe he came by to let me know he was all right.
Crows think, remember and reason. They have a language enabling them to communicate with one another and even have a distinct dialect.
We were camping near Kissimmee, Fla., one time and listened to the crows every morning in the campground. Those birds actually cawed with a southern accent.
Crows are an amazing and misunderstood creature, but they’re a little like Rodney Dangerfield. They have a similar beak and don’t get much respect.
About last week
After last week’s column, many e-mailed me with other old sayings about winter.
An old friend who taught with me in Wells – as well as several other people – reminded me of another bit of folklore.