The raven, for some a symbol of good omen, for others a sign of bad omen. Some fear them, others are very curious to have this bird in their possession. However, can a crow really be a pet?
- 1 Types of crows
- 2 General characteristics of crows
- 3 How long does a crow live?
- 4 Can you really have a crow as a pet?
- 5 And what is his behavior?
- 6 What does a crow’s cage have to be like?
- 7 If I catch a crow, can I keep it as a pet?
- 8 Is it true that crows steal shiny objects?
- 9 What do crows eat?
- 10 The crows within the culture
- 11 How do crows reproduce?
- 12 Is it an endangered species?
- 13 Can you train a crow?
- 14 Can crows really learn to talk?
- 15 What should be considered before catching a crow as a pet?
Types of crows
General characteristics of crows
One of the main characteristics of crows is that the colour of their plumage is usually completely black, as are their beaks and legs. A characteristic that has made them pass through many cultures in different ways throughout history.
However, don’t be fooled, as there are also crows that have body parts with feathers of a different color than black, such as white. They are not subspecies, but have been recognized as species in themselves. It all depends on the location of the bird.
Its area of distribution covers almost the entire planet, so we can speak of dozens of species of crows. They all tend to be the same size, about 25 – 35 cm, and differences between female and male are rarely visible. As a general rule, a DNA test is required to determine your sex.
How long does a crow live?
The truth is that the life expectancy of a crow is not too long compared to other birds such as eagles, parrots or agarponis. In the wild, a crow can survive for 6-8 years.
On the other hand, a specimen living in captivity may live between 11-12 years, with very few recorded cases in which a crow over 15 years of age has been kept.
Can you really have a crow as a pet?
The truth is that it has become the fashionable bird in recent years thanks to the popular HBO Game of Thrones series, in which they are used as messenger birds.
It wasn’t until the end of 2009 that some began to have a crow as a companion bird, but it wasn’t until the appearance of this series that the real boom in pet crows began.
And what is his behavior?
In reality, the character of a crow will depend a lot on the species to which it belongs. Crows are very intelligent animals, just as much or more than parrots and macaws. In fact, many poultry experts consider them the smartest birds in the world. Two of their traits are that they are very cunning and bold. Also, his brain is the largest of the birds.
An example of their intelligence is how they are able to get their food. Some ravens have been seen placing nuts, the shells of which cannot break with the beak, on the roads for cars to pass over and break them. Or using a stick as a tool to eat insects.
As far as its character is concerned, it can be a very sociable bird but also a very dangerous one. As a general rule, she doesn’t have much trouble interacting with other birds, however, if one of them invades her territory or tries to take her food away from her, she can be very violent. When it comes to human beings, there can be no more sociable bird than the crows. They have lived with them for centuries and have been used as birds messages or as a tool to eliminate pests.
Their language is the most complex within birds. It may seem to a normal person that the sounds they make are all the same, but the truth is that they are different signals they use to communicate with each other. It is a kind of bird that can identify and reproduce sounds (in fact some have been able to teach some words to their crows) and give warnings when they believe there is danger.
What does a crow’s cage have to be like?
The first thing to keep in mind is that the crow is a bird that acclimatizes very well to change. But when it’s time to have one in captivity, it’s best that it’s been raised since it was in the egg so there’s no problem that it can be violent.
Generally, when crows’ cages are shown in series and movies, they are oval. It is a clear example of what kind of cage you don’t have to buy for a crow. This one has to be square and big. If you can have a very large one, in which a person fits along with the birds better than better. It should have natural branches and some vegetation with which the raven feels comfortable and can move.
You have to be very careful with the security measures of the cage. The crow is a cunning animal and learns quickly to open cage doors. That’s why it avoids simple systems. Also, don’t have feeders and drinkers that are put through doors, because you will give the crows a possible way out.
There should be soot or dirt on the floor of the cage so that you can clean the cage of your raven of faeces easily afterwards. On the other hand, you can put some mirrors in the cage that will allow you to see what is in places that you cannot see with your eyes.
If I catch a crow, can I keep it as a pet?
Like other birds, if you want to keep them as domestic birds, you don’t have to catch them when they are at liberty. Crows can be very sociable, but they are also animals that can be very violent.
If he suddenly wakes up inside a cage, he will be very scared and will not stop trying to attack you when you approach the cage. Besides, he won’t stop trying to get away with it.
Is it true that crows steal shiny objects?
Many are the myths surrounding the fact that crows love bright things. This has been represented in different works such as Tintin, video games, films and novels.
Of all the species of raven that do, the magpie is the most common to be represented this way. However, this bird is not really attracted to bright things like other birds. The myth simply spread because the bird sometimes dared to perform this act in the presence of people.
What do crows eat?
Crows are omnivorous animals, like human beings. They can eat both meat and a vegetable diet.
Their carnivorous diet is the most represented in popular culture, which is why many people fear them. They are generally treated as carrion birds of prey, but they also feed on living things that they hunt themselves. Their meat feed ranges from small insects, worms, spiders… to larger animals such as toads, frogs, snakes, mice, rabbits and some birds. Crows also feed on young and eggs, and in some cases have been seen feeding on their own young. Other foods may include fish, molluscs and crustaceans in species living near the coast.
As far as their vegetable diet is concerned, they can eat cereals, berries, fruits and nuts. Sometimes they consume the feces of other animals to take the undigested parts in these residues. They also consume much of the placenta of cattle that remains in the mountains after the young are born.
The crows within the culture
One of the reasons why crows have had such a relationship with humans is because they have always been given a lot of importance in culture. For example, in some cultures and myths, the crow is considered an animal that is a mediator between life and death, as well as the coyote. There are many stories in the Bible that refer to this bird.
In Greek and Nordic mythology… and even in Aztec and Indian culture, this fabulous bird has been given a lot of importance. For many years, however, she was associated with the world of witchcraft, and if any woman had a crow or a magpie in her possession, she was considered a witch.
An example of this can be seen in the film The Sleeping Beauty of Disney, in which Malefica has a magpie as a companion bird, while the Merlin mango, from the film Merlin the Charming, has an owl as a companion bird, which was more related to magicians and witches.
They have also been represented in literature on several occasions, such as the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, in which he represents his great ability to communicate. But the work that has made this bird more famous has been the saga Song of Ice and Fire, and its subsequent television adaptation Game of Thrones, in which the crows are used as a messenger bird, as it was done in ancient times.
But where they have achieved great prominence has been in the world of horror video games. Generally, the presence of crows is related to the “presence of evil”. In the popular Resident Evil saga the crows were one of the enemies to beat and always appeared close to where there were enemies. In the darkest places of video games, they are always perched on trees, indicating “the desperation and destruction of the place”.
How do crows reproduce?
The breeding season of this species usually occurs in the last months of winter. The female and male will build a nest on the branches of a tree or in an elevated place, where they are protected from possible predators and will proceed to lay 4 to 6 eggs, with one day of difference between each one.
For 21 days, the eggs will be incubated by both parents, leaving one of them free to go and get food for themselves and the future children. Once the chicks are born, the parents will feed them meat, vegetable food and worms for three months. They will not leave the nest until they are two or three months old. They may not dare to leave the nest for the first few days.
Once they leave the nest, they begin a solitary life of two to three years, a time when they reach sexual maturity and worry about finding a mate. In the case of having this bird in captivity, a nest box can be built on one of the branches, but it is best to give the materials to the bird so that it can be built by the parents.
Is it an endangered species?
The raven is not really in a dangerous situation at the moment. Although it is true that there are some who are at risk, such as the endangered corvus florentis, the critically endangered corvus kubaryi, the critically endangered corvus unicolor or the vulnerable white-collared raven.
The main causes of the disappearance of some species are due to deforestation, as well as illegal hunting of the species and collision with overhead cables. Other reasons are that when they feed on meat, they may eat sick prey and die. In other regions they are still considered as vermin or birds of ill omen, so they are hunted.
In addition, it is said that crow meat is very rich, not only in flavor, but also in protein and nutrients. It has less fat than pork and in some regions is hunted for use.
Can you train a crow?
It is true that crows are not animals that are used in falconry like hawks, owls or eagles. However, they can be trained. The ideal age is between two and three months of age. But before training begins, the raven must have grown accustomed to feeding on your hand from an early age.
Once the chicken stage is over, it will begin to sit and stand on its legs. That will be your signal to initiate them in the inn on hangers, sticks or even on your hand. Thanks to this, he gradually exercises his muscles and gains strength in his claws.
Wondering what you might need to train a crow? First of all, a leather glove, similar to the one used for hawks and eagles. Two leather pihuelas and two wristbands that will go around your legs. You have to put them on as soon as they begin to settle, so that you get used to them. Once you’ve got used to it, attach a slice, with a little string or thread of a thickness not exceeding 0.5 mm in diameter, to the pihuelas at one end and to the perch. The raven is now equipped to begin training. The string should not be longer than 30 cm.
The first thing to do is to get the raven used to walking around, wearing it on his fist. Caressing him while walking, talking to him, giving him a little food…. listening to the voice of the owner and having contact with him will feel comfortable in an environment that will be unknown to him. Even if it looks like it’s going to fall off, move your fist once in a while. If it falls off, it’s okay, because that’s how he gets used to flapping his wings and learns that he has to fly towards your fist to get back to you.
Time will pass and the bird will begin to fly. Then you’ll have to take it out once or twice a week, so you can exercise. The cage also has to be large so that it can stretch the wings. It is a job that requires hours of dedication and repetition. Once the bird has gained confidence with its owner and begins to obey the orders, it is time to release it in an open space, but with the thread or rope far enough away so that the bird can fly calmly.
Can crows really learn to talk?
If you thought that parrots, macaws and parrots were the only ones capable of reproducing human words, you were very much mistaken. You may have seen it a lot in the cartoons and in some movies: some members of the crows’ family talk.
And it’s true, crows can learn human words. In fact, they can reproduce them better than any other type of bird. However, the time it takes for a raven to learn to speak requires a lot of work and dedication. Although, on very rare occasions, because they are so intelligent they are able to reproduce words and sounds that they have heard a lot.
What should be considered before catching a crow as a pet?
Making the decision to have a crow as a pet is not something to be taken lightly, as it requires very specific care. Consider these considerations before deciding to purchase one:
- It is an animal that requires a great investment, especially for its food and the type of cage they need to survive.
- Their sound can be very annoying at night and may disturb family and neighbors.
- At a certain age, and when they have had a lot of contact with the owner, they become very affectionate and will ask you to listen to them.
- They are very intelligent birds, so you can’t have a cage at home with a simple mechanism or they could escape.
- They have no problem with being with other birds, but it is better that you only have one cage with crows and the other species are in a different cage.
- If you take him out of the cage, keep an eye on the other animals or they might fight each other.