The Way of the Crow



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I've always known that crows had a soft spot for the taste of fish. When Spirit came upon the scene, I quickly discovered that he loved fish oil capsules. It didn't matter whether the capsules contained cod or halibut liver oil -- they were both favourites. The capsules are bright, which is reason enough to attract a crow. Add to that a fish taste, and you have crow heaven. Spirit would play with the amber coloured capsule, moving it around in his beak, and squeezing the capsule until it broke, squirting oil over his beak and surrounding area. The oil was beneficial to his skin, and if he took it regularly, I noticed his feathers had a particularly beautiful sheen.

If there's anything a crow likes almost as well as fish oil capsules, it would have to be cheese. In fact, both crows and foxes are legendary lovers of cheese. Witness the folktale about the fox and the crow, and how the clever, devious fox tricked the crow into dropping the cheese. In this folktale, the fox complements the crow on what a wonderful voice he has, and on how beautiful he can sing. Becoming very proud of himself, and wishing to show off for the fox, he starts to sing a song. In the process, he drops the cheese to the ground, where the clever fox is all too willing to relieve him of the delicious treat. Spirit loved cheese and I think the clever old fox would have had a rough time getting it from him. Regardless of whether it was in the form of solid cheese, cheese sticks, cheese flavoured crackers, or macaroni and cheese, Spirit loved it, and it was a delicacy in his diet.


A crow enjoys water -- lots of water -- to splash around in, and to wash its food. It is essential to a well balanced life of a crow, as it is to the balance and harmony of most creatures who enjoy playing and bathing with water.

I must admit that I was somewhat taken back when I first discovered that Spirit liked to wash his food. The discovery happened when I innocently placed raw hamburger meat near his basin. I watched him collect the meat in his beak and wash it in the water. I was reminded of the raccoon, which is famous for this trait, and will wash its food at every opportunity. However, I didn't expect a crow to do the same thing. Yet, here was Spirit taking chunks of hamburger, placing it in the water, then immediately collecting the meat in his beak, and shaking it a couple of times before eating it. I later learned that he would do a similar ritual with a variety of foods, including bread, balogna, and cheese.

Several people have commented to me about crows washing or soaking their food in water. Iola Stronach, of Kingston, Nova Scotia, writes,

This crow (it seems) can't caw. It makes a very strange noise. I've remarked to my husband and others that it has a sore throat. One day it came to the bird bath with part of a cooked lobster shell. It dipped the shell in the water many times, turning it over and over. When he or she was satisfied, it then proceeded to remove what small amounts of meat it could find in the shell. Them it removed the meat from the water, while my daughter and I watched.

Would you believe the next day I saw it land on the bird bath with a slice of bread. The bread looked stale and hard. I couldn't believe my eyes when it placed the bread in the water, turned it over a couple of times, removed it to the grass and ate it. I always thought birds were stupid. Now I think they are darn smart! I wonder if it really did have a sore throat?

Doris Phillips of Halifax, Nova Scotia, comments,

My husband and I saw a crow come to our bird bath with a large white object in his beak. He placed it in the bath and immediately flew away. I went to see what it was he had left behind and soon discovered a good sized part of a loaf of very hard, crusty French bread, which was soaking in the water. In a short time, the crow returned, and commenced eating the softened bread. Good thinking, don't you agree?

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