Posted Jun 07, 2015
When I was about thirteen, a friend brought a wounded crow to my doorstep because he know that I had an aviary and a love of animals. The crow, who we came to call Farooq, had a broken wing and was missing most of the feathers on her left wing. It took two years for her feathers to grow back properly and another for her to become a confident flyer but, when she did, Farooq eventually returned to the wild.
I will always look back fondly on the time we got to spend with Farooq. It was terrific fun and a real learning experience. Until you've had the pleasure of keeping a crow, you have no idea what a majestic animal they really are. Even though I always knew she would have to leave us one day, it still hurt went she didn't come home.
My father surprised me by telling me that he'd also had a crow when he was a child, brought to him under similar circumstances; it was something he'd never mentioned before. It was also surprising because Farooq didn't like my father at all. She also disliked my brother. My mother and I were the only ones in the family that the crow trusted.
Did you know that many members of the crow family can mimic human speech? I didn't - until Farooq talked for the first time! She only ever said one phrase: "Hello! How are you, then?" but it was enough to surprise visitors! She was also very good at impersonating the toy poodle that we had! The poor thing got so confused when the crow plonked herself down in front of him and started barking!
Niko and Farooq were arch-nemeses. The dog couldn't seem to leave her alone and Farooq couldn't stop herself from taunting Niko. The crow would often feign a broken wing until the dog got brave enough to approach her and then she would lunge and take a bite at Niko. They never really hurt each other but it was a good warning that crows and dogs really don't mix.
Farooq was a very, very cheeky girl (all crows are, really)! Change, jewellery, keys - you name it! - went missing on a daily basis. A crow's aviary needs to be cleaned out every week, at least, but it was one job I never minded doing because there was always something shiny hidden inside! My parents were less amused - especially when they were running late for work and their car keys were nowhere to be found!
The one job I didn't like doing was feeding the crow. We bought something like thirty chicken chicks at a time and froze them so she could have a chick or two every day. Unlike the kestrel we kept then, Farooq wasn't a picky eater. She often hopped her way into the house, looking for leftovers! (And usually found them, too!)
Farooq was excitable, vocal, and affectionate - but messy. Crows are the kind of pets you don't get to have in your life often but I can't stress what an amazing experience it is. I'd love to have a crow again.