This story begins one afternoon of about 9 years ago. My ancient mongrel dog came to me nuzzling my knee insistently. When, after a while, I realised she was trying to tell me something I followed her out into the garden where I found my young grandson about to call me to see something he had found. The ‘something’ was a very young hooded crow who had fallen from his nest from a tree in our garden. The moment I took him into my hands, for some unexplained reason he became George, which is what I shall call him from here on.
I confess that, up to that moment I enjoyed watching birds but anything that fluttered (butterflies, moths and birds) made me anxious if they came near me or touched me. However, here was this most unattractive little creature with an enormous beak and very few feathers calling out for his mum. So I took him into the house, cuddled him and stroked his head, which he seemed to like and, having absolutely no idea of how to raise a crow rang the vet to ask what crows eat. “Anything” was the answer, ”with a preference for raw meat”. So that’s more or less what I gave him basically though he ended up with a marked preference for digestive biscuits. I kept him in the house until he could fly (about 3 weeks I think) and then gave him his freedom in the garden. (Initially he would come to the sitting room window at dusk and peck at the window asking to be let in but I felt the best thing for him was to learn to be a crow and not a pseudo human.) He was always around swooping down onto our shoulders whenever we went out and eventually we taught him to perch on our wrists rather than on our shoulders (this to avoid continual slimy blobs sliding down our backs). The grandchildren adored him even accepting that he steal the pizza they were eating and called him ‘granny’s crow’.
George was great friends with both the dog and the cat. He would turn up when the dog had his dinner and would eat from the same bowl; with the cat it was he who ruled who played what and the cat was decidedly submissive!
One of my most vivid memories of him is of my son, who is a priest, walking slowly up and down the garden path reading his breviary, with George walking up and down behind him…(this crow walked not hopped which, I imagine is the same with all crows.)