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when he wishes to attain the same object. I have read of a Raven attached to an inn, who would always steal up to any strange dog that came on the premises, and suddenly shout in his ear“Halloa ! whose dog are you?” and before the dog could recover from his surprise, would call out Hie! ho! go home !" and send him flying up the street at a frantic rate. The same bird would start off a cart-horse by shouting “Gee! whoa!” exactly like the carter. Such stories are so common that it would be useless to repeat them here.
Young Ravens are easily tamed if taken from the nest and fed upon bread and milk, meat, worms, cockchafers, etc. When full-grown they will eat anything; and when young they will learn to repeat any words by hearing them again and again, especially if they are rewarded by a nice titbit after they say their lesson, their memory of imitation being quite wonderful. They should be kept in some warm corner in an outhouse, or in a large cage, and not allowed to roam through the house, as they are dirty birds, and not pleasant companions in a dwellinghouse.
Bishop Stanley relates an anecdote of the strange partnership of a Raven and a little terrier belonging to the landlord of an inn. These comrades used to go out upon poaching expeditions, and killed a number of hares and rabbits. As soon as they came to a covert, the dog went in and drove the game towards the bird, and the Raven waited close to one of the outlets, and pounced upon any creature that came out, killing it himself if he could, if not, waiting for the dog to come out and help him. These strange allies were fond of rat-hunting too, and the Raven helped the dog quite as much as a ferret could do.
They are said to be very affectionate parents, and Mr. Knox relates that on occasion of a Raven's nest being robbed by a schoolboy, he found the young birds half starved and three of them with their wings clipped; these he thought it useless to restore to the nest. But fearing that the Ravens would desert their haunts, he put back the perfect bird one night, in the forlorn hope of the old birds' taking care of it; and greatly to his delight the experiment answered, and the Ravens reared the young bird, and returned again to their “clump” in the following spring, bringing up other families in the same nest. These birds are said to have a great attachment to the place where they have once had a nest, and to return again and again to the same tree.
Both the CARRION CROW (Corvus corone) and the HOODED CROW (Corvus cornix) are tamed and domesticated in other countries, but they are not often kept in confinement in England. They are said to be very intelligent, and capable of great attachment to their
owners, but very thieving and mischievous. In many of their habits and characteristics they resemble the Raven.
The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is not often made a domestic pet, as it is not easily reared when young; but it appears to have a good deal of the sagacity inherent in others of the Crow tribe, and will learn to imitate the barking of a dog and the notes of other birds admirably. It is best known living in its colony; and great amusement may be obtained by watching the proceedings of the colonists in a rookery, which sometimes has several thousand birds congregated together on a clump of trees. They appear to have a system of jurisprudence of their own, and a criminal code, and have been seen to hold a trial of delinquent members of their body, ending in condemnation to banishment or death.* They are much attached to their old building-places, and will often continue to return to them even when crowded cities grow up around the trees they frequent. They are said to be very sagacious in selecting and avoiding certain trees, and to forsake any trees marked for felling; but this may be caused by their observation of the decay going on in the upper branches of the condemned trees.
* The same practice is recorded of the Carrion Crow and the Hooded Crow,
which are said to hold “ Courts” of justice in their communities.
Rooks are accused of doing much mischief to the farmer, but they certainly render him infinite service, by their wholesale destruction of grubs, worms, and insects, even if they do him harm by pulling up the young blades of corn occasionally. Grey, white, and pied Rooks are sometimes found.
The favourite pet bird of the Crow tribe is the smallest Corvus, the JACKDAW (Corvus monedula), a most intelligent, merry, noisy fellow, renowned for his powers of imitation. These birds resemble Rooks in their sociable habits, living together in considerable numbers on most friendly terms. They generally select very high situations for their nests, and build in church towers, belfries, and steeples, but occasionally in hollow trees. At Stonehenge there are Jackdaws' nests among the great stones, and on the seacoast they will often build in cavities in the cliffs or rocks. Sometimes, however, they will build in chalk-pits and in rabbit burrows. A colony of Jackdaws, at Cambridge, robbed the Botanic Garden of a quantity of wooden labels used to mark the plants, and no less than eighteen dozen of them were taken from the shaft of one chimney. The Jackdaws had used them instead of twigs for their nests. In the ruins of Holyrood Chapel in Edinburgh there was found in a Jackdaw's nest once, a large piece of lace, part of a worsted stocking, a silk handkerchief, a frill, a child's cap, and several other things too ragged to be made out. It is almost as great a pilferer as the Magpie, and travellers relate that the Jackdaws in Ceylon are so impudent that they will snatch bread and meat from the dining-tables of the open houses, even when surrounded with guests; but they are so useful in consuming offal and dead vermin, that they are put up with on that account, as carrying off substances which in that hot climate would soon turn putrid. In North America a bird very much like the Jackdaw, the American Crow, is equally given to pilfering, and will go into the tents and sit on the edge of the kettle hanging on the fire, and steal the victuals out of the dishes, and take the baits out of the hunters' ps. The Jackdaw eats indiscriminately insects, seeds, eggs, carrion, shell-fish, and fruit: it is often seen perched on the back of sheep to pick out any parasites from the wool. In confinement it seems to prefer meat to any other food. The young birds, if taken from the nest when nearly fledged, are very easily tamed and taught, and may be brought up like young Ravens. The old birds will sometimes feed them if they are put in a wicker cage, and hung up near the nest till they are old enough to take care of themselves. If fullgrown birds are taken, they must have their wings clipped twice a year, and may be suffered to go at large.
A number of anecdotes of the sagacity and cunning of tame Jackdaws are recorded. I have read of one who stole some pickled cockles from a jar, and being detected in the act, the cook called out, “You rogue! you go to the cockles, do you?" and punished him bythrowing aladle-full of hot fat over his head, which scalded his pate so that he was quite bald for a time. Soon afterwards, when his master had a party, the Jackdaw saw among the guests one with a bald head, upon which he flew upon his shoulder, and looking at the bald head, exclaimed, “You rogue! you go to the cockles, do you?”
A friend of mine used to tell of a tame Jackdaw who was sadly given to pilfering, and would fly in at cottage windows and steal everything he could find. One day he carried off a half-crown, but brought it back the next day. Being shut up in a drawer once by accident, he called out “Mother, mother!” and the mistress of the house looked about in vain for the children; at last she opened the drawer from which the sound seemed to come, and out
hopped the bird. A house in London was once set on fire by a Jackdaw, who carried a box of lucifer-matches upstairs, and rubbed them on the floor till the bed-clothes caught fire.
The CORNISH CHOUGH or RED-LEGGED CROW (Fregilus graculus) much resembles the Jackdaw in manners and colour, but has a curved orange-red bill, very like coral, and very brittle, and red legs and feet, with strong black hooked claws. It inhabits the sea-coasts, where it builds in rocks and caves, and occasionally in ruined towers. Its natural food is grain and insects, but in confinement it will eat flesh greedily, and becomes very tame and docile, but is as mischievous as the Jackdaw. On a lawn where five Choughs were kept, one part of it was always brown, and this was caused by the continual tearing up of the grass by the roots by these birds in search of grubs. Colonel Montagu had a tame Chough in his garden for some years, which was very troublesome from its extreme curiosity. If the gardener was pruning or nailing up the trees, he would examine the nail-box, carry off the nails, and scatter the shreds about, mount up the ladder, run round the wall, and try to get in at the windows of the house. He was very fond of being caressed, especially by one lady to whom he became exceedingly attached, and would sit upon the back of her chair for hours; but if affronted, he would use his bill and claws very effectively. He disliked children exceedingly, and would scarcely let them, or strangers of any age, enter the garden. He was particularly fond of grasshoppers, chafers, and other insects, and raw and dressed meat and bread he would eat greedily, as well as barley and hemp-seed.
The PIPING CROW (Gymnorhina tibicen) of New South Wales must be mentioned here, because Mr. Gould thinks that it would be a valuable addition to our cage birds, as it is very hardy, and bears captivity well. It is not a true
Crow," but in some particulars appears to have more