a page devoted to enhancing the level of friendship
& appreciation between humans & birds in the crow family
(birds such as crows, ravens, magpies, jays)
The relationship between humans and birds in the crow family has been long & complex. Today some people hate crows & want to kill them. Yet crows have traditionally been worshiped by our aboriginal cultures. They have been considered gods!
The purpose of this page is to provide to you a list of resources which are intended to improve the level of understanding & friendship that exists & that can exist between humans and birds in the crow family.
|Pet crows - info on native US & non-native crows as friends & pets||Feeding & watching||Keep your cat in|
|Stop the killing||Chat with other crow lovers||Order A Cat trap|
|Rehabilitation resources||Links to other good sites|
Humans have kept and interacted with crow family birds on a first hand basis for all of our recorded history.
Native US Crows:
All crows which are native to the US may not legally be kept as friends or pets, but some of them may be legally shot (the American Crow & the Black Billed Magpie). Lovers of crows find the killing abhorrent, and lovers of crows would like more opportunities to learn from and to be with crows.
The level of risk for keeping a native crow as a pet depends on which part of the country you live in. Some game wardens could care less about people keeping crows, because they realize that it is legal to shoot them. In spite of the legal situation, people do keep crows. People do help crows. People have what amounts to a forbidden friendship with crows.
Here is what I believe we should do:
1. Pursue the responsible & well thought out legalization of native US corvidae family birds into private aviculture.
2. Encourage enhanced education about the availability of non-native crow family birds, and their value & nature.
3. Advocate ways to stop the killing. Item 1 above can help, and there are other options.
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There are wonderful & intriguing non-native crow family birds available as friends & pets. Some of these exotic crows are very similar to the native US crows. People are finding such birds to be wonderful companions.
Mailing lists dealing with exotic crow family birds:
The crows mailing list previously mentioned does encompass the keeping & breeding of exotic crows (as well as rehabbing and keeping any crow family birds anywhere in the world, and also the appreciation and feeding of neighborhood crows). To join the list go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crows/ and click on "Join This Group."
Relevant web sites:
A site at http://www.softbills.com used to exist, but it's down right now. However another page is at http://chats.upatsix.com/chats.php?board=lory_softbill .
Partial list of breeders:
The Corvid Ranch
Dark Continent Aviary - Darkcont@aol.com or Troyscrows@aol.com
And there may be some at http://aviary.upatsix.com/
And also check out: http://www.shades-of-night.com/aviary/breeders.html
Note that if you want a very tame bird you must be sure to ask whichever breeder you choose whether they hand raise / hand feed the babies, and how much human interaction & play they provide to the babies.
If you are interested in breeding these types of birds yourself, I strongly encourage you to first join the crows mailing list. And really you should do your homework before getting any bird, a pet or a breeder. There are so many different types of birds available. In the crow family alone there are at least 10 different types of available species. All have their own wonderful attributes & characteristics. A few are endangered.
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Stop the Killing
The mass killing of crows in the US and around the world is very abhorrent. As I view crow hunting books with photos showing he piles of dead bodies, I am convinced more than ever that we must find a way to stop this evil impulse of ours to kill a bird our ancestors considered gods.
Members of my crows mailing list agree we should stop the killing. Join with them to help find ways to we can do so.
There are other groups working to stop the killing of our most intelligent types of birds. One can be found at: http://www.savethecrows.org/
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If you have found a baby crow or magpie or jay or rook or jackdaw, you can get help from various sources.
One is from the crows mailing list.
More resources & info can be found at the following web sites:
http://www.shades-of-night.com/aviary/birdpet.html -- has good info & various relevant links
http://www.wildliferehabber.org -- if you do a search here put in the maximum search area you can, then call the place that comes up for closer rehabbers. Also I recommend you do a *67 or whatever code you use to block their being able to see your phone number. Inquire and probe as to whether there is any chance the bird you give them will be killed. For example, some vets who take in wild birds really don't give them quality care. So licensed rehabbers can be of value, but sending a bird to die is no good either. The same goes if you call your local game warden. Some of these wardens would rather see a bird dead than kept by a non-licensed rehabber.
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Feeding & watching:
Cornell info - various bird counting programs & feeding info
My own feeding suggestions:
For crows, ravens, magpies, jays, rooks, jackdaws, and related:
Wayne's Dog Food - "bite" size - 40 lb. bags. Good because it's low in iron. Also small kibble cat & dog food of other brands may be ok, as Wayne's is sometimes hard to find.
In-the-shell unsalted roasted peanuts. Some people feed raw peanuts but I think roasted ones have less of a chance of disease. For some time now each morning I put out peanuts outside a window, and a scrub jay will come obtain them. These are peanuts left over from my earlier feeding of a couple of peanuts each to my parrots.
Peanut Butter mixed with corn meal. Note that it is reportedly ok to feed straight peanut butter to wild birds, and that the chocking story is unfounded. But I think it goes farther if you mix it with corn meal. Don't put out too much though until you get a sense of how much they'll take.
Black Oil Sunflower - put in hanging feeders and ground feeders.
Commercial wild bird food - the kind with a bunch of millet & other seed - placed mainly in a handing feeder. Also placed a bit in ground feeders.
Chicken scratch mix (cracked corn and wheat and other) - purchased from a local farm store. Put in ground feeders and sometimes in the horizontal hanging feeder.
Description of feeders:
Ground feeders - rectangular and square, wood, about 1 foot off the ground with legs. Water placed in large shallow bowls from a farm store.
Hanging feeders - traditional hopper feeder used for the commercial wild bird seed (millet, etc.). Hanging vertical rectangle with small holes (essentially a tube feeder made out of wood) - used for black oil sunflower. Hanging horizontal wood shallow bucket type feeder - about 10 feet off the ground hanging in a tree - for cat or dog foot and/or seed.
In my front yard I had a plastic baby bathing container. Some local ducks liked to use it for bathing.
Discussion groups dealing with crow family directly or indirectly:
1. The Crows mailing list - for advocates of crow family birds, as friends and as pets.
2. The Softbill & Lory Chat area at Up At Six
3. rec.pets.birds on Usenet -- mainly deals with parrots but occasionally has a crow person on
Crow related links:
Kevin McGowan's Crow FAQ
Pages about the African Pied Crow Aristotle (good pictures)
The Raven's Eyrie - Aviary - many interesting crow related items, images, and information
American Society of Crows and Ravens - also has links to many other interesting corvid pages
Crows and Ravens web ring.
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