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Crows file in from around the area to roost in Loring Park trees every night.

Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Crow's qualities lost on Minnesota shooter

  • Article by: Jenni Charrier
  • April 4, 2013 - 8:38 PM

Last week, we were quite saddened by the news that the American crow we had rescued and delivered to a local wildlife rehabilitation center was unable to be saved.

The badly broken wing it suffered was not due to a predator seeking dinner for its family or from an animal protecting itself. This crow was shot by a human with no regard for its life — with no intention to eat it nor use its feathers for clothing or shelter.

Certainly there must not have been the knowledge that crows are highly intelligent animals that can fashion or use tools. It must not have been apparent that crows have complex family structures in which they have long-term pair and family bonds.

The shooter must not have appreciated the adaptability of crows and their dual role as predator and scavenger. They prefer to eat dead, sick or injured animals, including roadkill and scores of mice that people often consider invasive pests.

This person must not have known that crows are regarded as spiritual creatures in many cultures and in ancient folklore and mythology, and can live as long as 30 years — or that there is even a secret society that anonymously shares personal stories about observed or befriended corvids who so often display humanlike personality and a sense of humor.

Of course, it is not possible that this individual knew that this particular crow was special to us as a resident of our neighborhood and that crows can recognize and distinguish individual humans. It must not have been known to the shooter that I had personally grown up with a rehabilitated crow that returned to visit my parent’s farm for years after its release back into the wild.

This person must not have witnessed the years in which my own family had been feeding these local crows (which had once been a core group of five) while observing how they carry on conversations and will pick up food and bring it to one another, in lieu of themselves.

The person who shot this crow did not see how it spent days wandering in acute pain, returning to our feeding area repeatedly until it was finally weak enough for us to peacefully catch and confine it to a cat carrier for the long ride to the rehab center.

Finally, of course, the individual was ignorant of the Migratory Bird Treaty amendments of 1972, which make it illegal to shoot crows, nor did this person recognize how dangerous it is to discharge a weapon in a residential area that includes families with children.

Because if the person knew all of this and could still pull the trigger, the compassion lacking in this individual is far less than that of an American crow.

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Jenni Charrier is from Wayzata.

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