The Way of the Crow



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Norman Deale remarks that Jim the crow "thrived on a diet of home baked bread dipped in warm milk, and supplemented with earthworms dug from the garden". On the other hand, Florence Hubley of Tantallon, Nova Scotia, writes that Jody's (a crow) "favourite meal was raisin bread. He would pick the raisins out and leave the bread. He also liked a dish of porridge in the morning." Here again, the porridge indicates a crow's love of wet things. Finally, Sheila Wilson of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, states that Joe the crow ate "pig feed or oatmeal mixed with warm water from a small spoon which he devoured with a gobbling squawking sound with every bite." As he got older he, like Norman Deale's crow, supplemented his diet with worms which he ate with "gusto".

Spirit liked to play with bones in the water, especially small chicken bones, or any type of bone for that matter. He was fascinated with the way bones moved through the water. He would push the bones with his beak, eventually plucking them from the water, and pecking them clean of meat.

He was especially fond of washing grapes in water. He would drop a grape in the basin, or hold it in his beak, and move it back and forth through the water. On occasion he attempted to swallow the grape whole; but, more often, he squeezed it until it burst, and savoured the juicy bits one by one. 

Spirit's eclectic diet should not surprise anyone, since he came from a long line of scavenger birds. Scavengers will eat almost any type of meat, and perform a great service in keeping the landscape clean of decaying carcasses. However, to what extent was Spirit's diet representative of what an average crow eats? Well, in some ways, it certainly was representative insofar as Spirit's enjoyment of meats, bread soaked in water, fruits, and some vegetables (especially cucumbers) is shared by all crows. However, it differed in that Spirit did not have to use his scavenger instincts for survival purposes. He was handed his food and did not have to go in search of decaying animal matter. He received fresh foods that are certainly more rare in other crows’ diets. Spirit had a wide variety of foods which crows in general do not often have.

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