ok! i get asks like these sometimes and i give a similar answer every time. here we go for round THREE!
first and foremost, i am here to say i do not support the practice of keeping crows/ravens as pets, especially by unlicensed, untrained and uneducated individuals. ms. crow is not my pet. i’ve been a volunteer at nature connection for two, maybe two and a half years. my work is to ‘socialize’ ms. crow, which means spending lots of one-on-one time with her to acclimate her to being around people, since she is part of the educational presentations nature connection gives and needs to be comfortable around people. i feed her, i talk with her, i sing to her, i clean her cage, and i just hang out with her. i am blessed to have this opportunity.
a bird that could not survive on its own that comes into your care is a different story, but even then i strongly advise transferring the bird’s care to a wildlife rescue or rehabilitation facility near you, consulting with a vet (warning, vets may suggest euthanization), and as a last case scenario - applying for a wildlife rehabilitation permit. which takes a while.
it is important you research the laws surrounding rehabilitating and caring for wildlife in your state. i live in massachusetts. certain species do not require a permit to care for, and i’m pretty sure it’s different in every state. here’s some info for florida which provides a list and general should-knows in a clear format.
in my state, there are some qualifications needed.
The Wildlife Center conducts course about the field of wildlife rehabilitation. This seven week course provides basic information about the process of becoming a wildlife rehabilitator, about the biology of selected groups of animals, and introduces participants to the skills necessary to conduct successful wildlife care. (This course does not provide you with a permit to conduct wildlife rehabilitation. Those permits are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in accordance with 321 CMR 2.13 and by the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife.)
i’m pretty sure you also need to show you have decent facilities to care for the animal needed. they need ample room to fly, they need lots of stimulation. crows are not house pets. crows will not do well in a house. they are territorial. they are loud. they are mischievous. they are smart, and they will wreck your shit and take craps on everything you hold near and dear to your sweet little heart. they are notoriously intelligent, and they require specialized knowledge to care for. they require massive amounts of time, energy, attention, resources and money. crows are not domesticated. crows are not pets, they are companions, and owning one will change your life. you need to dedicate yourself and build your life around the bird’s needs.
i could go on about this forever.
but i understand the appeal! its the same sort of people who want wolfdogs or foxes - they’re novel, they’re unusual in a household, they’re exotic but not too exotic, you see cute pictures and videos and you’re like “oh man thats so cool i want one”. i’m part of the problem here, it’s not like i put a big fucking disclaimer on every one of my videos or pictures saying “CROWS ARE NOT GOOD PETS”. people see my gifs, my pictures, my videos and they go “i want one!!”. i see it allll the time in tags.
so i need to reiterate this a lot. but the point is that this lens that you’re looking through the animals at, this “novelty, property, cool accessory” lens is not good. it actually kills animals. this isn’t crow related, but non-wolfdogs does a great job of talking about why this sort of behavior and mindset can be extremely harmful.
i should also note some interesting statistics on parrots, which are similar to crows in the fact that they are non-domesticated, intelligent birds that people buy because of their novelty and acclaimed intelligence, and also their accessibility. any old schmuck can walk into a pet store and come out with a conure. it’s difficult to get concrete statistics on these issues, since bird abuse is rarely reported. IDA states,
Parrots are highly intelligent and hypersensitive emotionally and physically. Improper handling can teach an already fearful or aggressive bird, or even a tame and loving bird, to bite and become aggressive. This can not only cause the bird serious psychological, stress related problems, it can also dramatically affect his/her physical health. Learned aggressive behavior from mishandling is one of the primary reasons parrots are surrendered or sold and live in at least five homes before dying prematurely or finding their forever home.
The parrots’ wild traits don’t usually mesh well in people’s homes or even in outside aviaries. The third most popular pet in America is one of the most frustrating, destructive, messy, and noisy pets a person can have, increasing the odds that the birds will be abused and neglected, and rehomed. Yet, pet stores rarely offer these facts to their customers prior to purchase.
It’s only after the bird arrives home, and the excitement has worn off, is the unsuspecting consumer hard hit with the reality of parrot parenthood. The additional cleaning, the destruction of personal property, “sudden” biting and behavior problems, and the continual screaming are more than most people can tolerate. As a result, some parrots are forced to live their entire lives in closets, garages, and basements, or in makeshift, outdoor cages and aviaries, subjecting the bird to the elements and unsuitable weather and dangerous predators. Others pass the bird onto other unsuspecting consumers without a word of caution. It is estimated that the majority of all captive parrots eventually end up in at least five homes before suffering and dying prematurely.
dude, not gonna lie, i want a crow. but if i look at that interest through a critical lens, its a selfish interest. it is not the right thing to do. its an impossibility for me, money-wise, time-wise, and yknow. crow-wise. it would be illegal, unless i went out to a breeder and purchased one of the few species legal to own without a permit in the US. just because they are legal to own without a permit does not make them any different in their needs.
if you really must know. african pied crows are legal to own in the U.S. you can purchase one from a breeder, for around $1500. if you purchase a healthy bird from a breeder who is willing to sell, just know i’m going to be side-eyeing you so fucking hard.
the best thing you can do is donate or volunteer your time to rescue/rehabilitation facilities and sanctuaries near you.
further reading: http://www.avianwelfare.org/issues/overview.htm
one of my crow posts is going around again and i feel like this is an important post to have on my front page right now