Joey my Crow
Round my way they used to poke crows. That’s how I got Joey.
In order to cull the crows they would go along to the rookery with great long poles that reached right up to the top of the trees. They would poke the nests and knock fledglings out.
Tony and I went along after they had gone and found two live fledglings. They were the ugliest things you could imagine with their transparent saggy skin and no feathers but we thought they were great. We took them home.
The little birds needed feeding every two hours. We mixed up this goo of egg, milk and bread. I put a lump on my finger and when I approached Joey would stretch out, flap his rudimentary wings, open his beak wide and squawk loudly. I simply shove the goo down his throat. Every now and then I would give him worms or bits of bacon. Our birds thrived on it.
School was a problem. The teachers were not very understanding regarding the feeding necessities of crows and we doubted that they would be amenable to letting us out of class every two hours. We got round that by taking our birds in to school. We thought that our teachers might take a dim view so we did not tell them. Fortunately we had those big old wooden desks in our form-room. We made a little nest out of paper and plonked the crows in. When you shut the lid it was dark inside and they went to sleep. At break and lunch we opened the lid and to everyone’s amazement they would squawk and clamor and we’d cram the paste down their throats. You shut the lid and they were silent. Our classmates thought it was great. Many other kids sat at our desks without ever knowing our crows were inside. We did it for weeks and never got caught.
I named my crow Joey. He grew into a fine handsome affectionate crow with inky black feathers with a lovely blue sheen. I kept him in my shed. Every morning and when I got home from school I’d go and get him. He’d jump straight on my shoulder and nibble my ear.
I taught Joey to talk. Well he could say twelve words. When I went in to him he’d squawk ‘Hello’. He could say his name. He was quite clear.
I had to teach Joey to fly. I’d take him into the garden and throw him into the air. He’d flap to the ground and crash. Gradually he rapidly caught on to the idea and would go off flying round and then sit on the roof. He’d always come back and land on my shoulder.
I lost Joey when I went off to camp for two weeks leaving my Mum in charge. While she was out shopping someone came round. They’d lost their pet crow and heard I had one in the shed. They thought it might be their crow. Nobody was home. They went down the bottom of the garden and opened the shed. Joey flew out.
My Mum said that he sat around on the roof for over a week but she couldn’t entice him down. She said he was looking for me.
By the time I got home he’d gone. I never saw him again.
I hope he met up with a nice lady crow and impressed her with his line in sweet-talk. His descendants are probably squawking up in the trees right now.
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