Rescued baby crows learn to eat from chopsticks

This rescue story began with a nest that fell from a tree. The crows that were only about a week old remained in the nest, but their parents were no longer able to care for them. The homeowner who found them got a ladder and placed the nest back in the tree. He called a local veterinarian who suggested that the parents might come back and look after their young. But many hours later, they had not come back and the sun was setting. These babies would not make it through the night. Baby birds need food and moisture every few hours and these ones were long past that point.

The veterinarian and her family took the nest of birds and began feeding them turkey mash, dog food and minced meat and vegetables, trying their best to mimic the nutrition that the parents would provide. The crows ate well and they grew rapidly. Their new family even took the nest of babies with them when they went to the cottage. The birds needed fed every few hours from sunrise to sunset. They had voracious appetites and a loud cry when they were hungry.

After several weeks, the crows were able to fly. They spent their nights roosting in the trees but they were waiting on the porch railing every morning just after sunrise, screaming for more food. Knowing that crows and ravens are highly intelligent and possess the ability to mimic human speech, the family spoke to the crows and gave them names. They were called Russell Crow, Baby Fred, Adventure Fred, and Crow Magnon. Collectively, they were all named Fred, in the hope that they would learn to repeat the word Fred. The veterinarian's father was named Fred and it seemed like he would find it amusing if the birds could speak his name.

Here, Cameron has gone out for the morning feeding. The crows have all lined up expectantly as he forks the food into their mouths as fast as he can. The chopsticks were the easiest way to deliver the food because the crows would swallow more easily if the food was actually placed at the back of their mouths.

The crows never learned to say "Fred", but they did learn the word "hello" and amazingly, they even seemed to understand that this was a greeting. They would say hello several times after first arriving. Over the summer, they became more wild and they managed to integrate into a family of completely wild crows. That winter, the crows disappeared and their human family worried about them and whether they had survived. But to their surprise, at least two returned in the spring and sat in a tree in the backyard and said "hello". One even took food that was left on a tree branch.

Crows have been found to be intelligent enough to solve complex problems. They have even demonstrated that they have a sense of humour. Believed to be as intelligent as chimpanzees, they are far more highly developed than we previously believed.