For brachyrhyncos

(probably misspelled that. Sorry.)

Hey, I was just in the “Username origins” thread and noticed we have a common interest - crows. Although yours is more scientific than mine, I just think they’re pretty freakin’ cool. My granddad used to feed them table scraps out behind his house in Western Mass and it was fun to watch them.

So here’s my question - is it possible/legal to have a crow for a pet? Not that I want to go hunt for a nest and filch an egg to raise it myself, but are there people who breed and raise them? Total idle curiosity, but if it’s actually feasible I’d love to look into it.

:bump: If anyone sees her, would they direct her attention thisaway? Thanks.

Try these.

Thanks, Duck Duck Goose. I knew ravens were federally protected but didn’t know squat about crows. I appreciate the information! Guess I’ll just have to stick to feeding 'em out back, when I buy my own house.

Olentzero, you wine-sipping smelt eater (I too enjoyed that name origin thread)!

Well, as DDG pointed out, yes you do need a federal (and sometimes state) permit to keep migratory birds. In fact you need a federal permit to do ANYTHING with wild birds. This includes all species but House Sparrows and European Starlings (non-native). So, if someone has a bird problem and they want to get rid of some poopy pigeons, they have to get a permit from the USGS (through Fish and Wildlife Service). If you want to catch birds and band them, you get a banding permit through the Bird Banding Laboratory (also USGS). Museums get salvaging permits to keep specimens. Violations result in serious fines and/or time spent in the federal pen (these folks don’t fool around).

It’s not totally impossible to get a permit, but you can see what one is up against with this:

“Federal Bird Banding and Salvage Permits are not valid unless banders also possess any permits or licenses required by the state(s) or province(s) involved. In most states, the possession of a valid Federal Bird Marking and Salvage Permit is the prerequisite for the issuance of a state permit.” (This is from the Bird Banding Laboratory in the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center where banding permits are issued.) So, you need a permit to get a permit in order to get the first permit which you need before you can get the last federal permit. Fortunately it has gotten a LOT better in recent years.

Having said all this, I have , um…uh…heard of folks raising crows, usually as free-ranging so they can leave when they want to. They’ll stick around for several to many months and be just an incredible pest. They love shiny objects and will cache your keys away before you can say “locksmith.” They’ll yell in your ear with a raucous call when they are hungry and they are hungry for the greater portion of their childhood. They’ll peck at your hands or your toes with a bill that can tear carrion.

Crows will also sing softly - something you rarely ever hear in the wild. A crow song. When you hear this, you easily accept their songbird designation. Crows will play tug-of-war with a stick or a thread. They’ll watch you with an intensity that is sometimes overwhelming because you realize this creature is SO COGNIZANT. They’ll gently groom your hair (before they give it a good pull).

When you get your house, definitely feed the crows. Peanuts or dogfood are favorites. Suet during the winter months is good too. They will never become tame and even free-rangers will loose their tameness to a good degree. But this is probably a good thing since too many people think that the best crow is a dead crow.

And check out DDG’s last link to ASCAR - the American Society of Crows and Ravens. Great to meet another crow lover!

ASCAR? I thought you said NASCAR! I couldn’t find Jeff Gordon anywhere!

That’s wine-guzzling smelt-eater.

Thanks for the info, brachy! I’ve done the slightest bit of reading on corvids (enough to recognize the sign of fear and confusion on a TV show) and the links DDG provided have given me a little more. Will just have to watch 'em until the time comes when I can feed 'em.

My granddad didn’t tame crows but he had it down to them coming when he called. He’d bang the tin pan on the tree to which he’d attached the shelf for scraps and go back to the house. Within five minutes there’d be three or four crows on the shelf eating whatever we’d left. I always thought that was cool. We wanted to find a crow call for him but never did - only found one in a catalog four years after he’d left us.