So even though I was familiar with cowbirds and their con-artist ways, it was still surprising to witness an intelligent crow going along with the guise. The charity of that crow struck me as uncharacteristic, so I went online to research the parenting instinct of crows.
And one of the first things I ran across was a YouTube video of a kitten raised by a wild crow.
Talk about an impressive parasitic parent! Holy crow! Apparently the mother cat interrupted her labor long enough to find a crow's nest, toss out one of the babies, and substitute a kitten in its place.
Or maybe the crow just happened across the orphaned kitten in some less remarkable way. I have a tendency to opt for the drama.
Regardless, the video shows the crow collecting bugs, which it feeds to the kitten. The pair is clearly affectionate, and even after the kitten is adopted by humans, the crow continues to visit each day, cawing at the window until the kitten comes out.
I used to work with a woman named Norma whose dad once raised a crow. She told me how, when her dad got old, he and the crow would go for walks together up the gravel road that he lived on. She said they walked at the same pace.
Even though I never met him, that's an image I love. And old man and his bird. Side by side. Gravel road.
The only downside was what happened to Norma's sister. Tragically tossed from her cradle by a mother crow.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns are available online on her blog at thegazz.com.