Geronimo's Story

Early Days

My boyfriend found Geronimo on a neighborhood walk in July. He was on the ground hollering like a banshee, while dozens of crows gathered and made an enormous commotion. The nest he fell out of was visible high in a tree, but sadly not accessible to us. He couldn’t fly and was terrified. Our neighborhood is full of dogs, cats, hawks & kids with bb guns. It was late in the day and we decided we had not choice but to take him home. He felt very thin and had a two inch cut under one wing. We took him to a certified avian vet the next morning to get the cut treated. They used surgical glue to close it up.

He had avian pox around his eyes. The vet said there was an epidemic of pox in the wild population. A weak bird could succumb to pox, but a well-nourished, healthy bird will come through it just fine. The bumps continued to grow for a couple of weeks. In about 4 weeks his pox disappeared. He’ll be immune for life now.

We raised him on soaked puppy kibble – higher in calcium and fat than adult food. We chose puppy rather than kitten food because dogs, like crows are more omnivorous than cats.

Geronimo was afraid of us for a few hours, but after a few feedings of warm, soft yummy food, he started gaping. He tamed and re-imprinted in less than a day.

It was a tough decision, but we chose to make a commitment to Geronimo and keep him as a pet. On the one hand he fledged into a strong healthy bird after the cut healed and the pox disappeared. On the other hand, he was extremely imprinted on us. We learned about the dangers that human-imprinted crows face from other humans, dogs, hawks, and even hostile crows. Also, crows have a long childhood, and even though they are physically developed they need at least a year or two with their parents tutelage to become effective, independent adults.

We named him Geronimo because he was always jumping from heights before he could fly – including the original big jump from his nest.

Current Circumstances

Most days begin with Geronimo spending 30-60 minutes in the house with me. We have a large great room/kitchen area with washable floors and he flies laps, plays with his toys, my things, and generally gets into harmless trouble. The couch and chair have sheets over them at this time of day. Whatever the section of the newspaper that I’m reading is the one he wants to grab from my hands and shred. He enjoys getting morsels of food by hand and sharing a glass of water.

Geronimo spends most of the day in a large outdoor enclosure on our back patio. It’s a tent-like gazebo that we bought at a sporting goods store for $50. It’s like a tent, but the sides are made of net, and the roof is a plastic tarp material. It has two zipper entrances. It’s 13’ x 9’ at the base, and a little smaller at the top, and about 7’ tall. We weighted down the corners of the ‘net-tent’. We live in southern California, so it has been adequate for our weather. However, we plan to find or build a more stable flight cage of a similar size.

He has large pvc tree perch in there, plus there’s two resin patio chairs for when we visit with him. He has one large (20" diameter) plant dish to bathe in, plus a second smaller water dish. The enclosure is stocked with a rotating variety of toys. I pick up little things for him at the 99 cent store, like colorful baby’s teething rings, clothespins, q-tips, straws, plastic food containers. Everything gets dunked repeatedly in the bathing dish. Plus he has lots of activity to observe in the yard, mainly squirrels and birds, including other crows.

At nightfall I take him inside to sleep on the shower curtain rod in our spare bathroom.

Well, I could go on and on. But these are the basics of how he came to us and how he’s living now.

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Gerronimo's Baby Pics

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