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The Black Crow Superstition (What I Learned When Caring for a Crow)

Tammy brought an injured crow & baby bird home for care. They both are safe now, read her tips.

There are as many superstitions about crows as there are about black cats—if not more—but are they justified? Here's what I learned when I brought a crow home.

There are as many superstitions about crows as there are about black cats—if not more—but are they justified? Here's what I learned when I brought a crow home.

Once upon a time, my family took an injured black crow in for the night. Given my superstitions about crows, I was hesitant to bring it into the house, but I don't believe it brought us any ill luck.

Overall, it was a great experience, and hopefully the bird is safe—though I would not recommend you attempt to care for an injured crow if you come across one. While our experience went smoothly, it's usually best to leave these things to the professionals or the crow's family.

I thought I would write this article not only to share my superstition story but also to clue other people in on what information is needed if they find an injured black crow that needs care. (Here's a hint: Don't bring it home!) For the full story of our crow rescue, scroll to the bottom.

Wondering what crows eat or whether you can keep one as a pet? Read on.

Wondering what crows eat or whether you can keep one as a pet? Read on.

Do Crows Carry Diseases?

People often associate black crows with West Nile Virus. As a result, the population of black birds has decreased since 1999. According to the CDC's page about West Nile Virus & Dead Birds, you cannot become infected by handling live or dead birds with West Nile Virus. I do recommend that anyone in contact with any exotic animal not place the animal near their face.

Make sure that after handling a black crow or an exotic animal, you wash your hands in hot, soapy water. Some people have said that crows and other exotic animals also carry animal or bird lice, but bird lice are exclusive to birds, so humans won't be harmed by them. You can, however, bring bird lice home to your other pet birds if you're not careful.

So What About the Superstitions?

Many people believe that black crows represent death. The superstition may stem from the fact that crows eat dead animals and that a group of crows is known as "a murder." Naturally, there is no evidence to support this superstition, but it is incredibly widespread nonetheless.

Are Crows Really That Smart?

Many people are not aware that the black crow is one of the world's most intelligent birds. Their communication methods and problem-solving abilities show great intelligence. They are also known to mimic other birds' calls, and some believe they learn to "talk" better than most pet birds.

What Do Black Crows Eat?

Crows are omnivores and will eat just about anything. They are known to feed on dead fish or animals as well as garbage, eggs, fish, mice, worms and frogs. Their diet should consist of a lot of protein.

If you have found an injured crow, you can offer it kibble, various grains and/or unsalted sunflower seeds.

Can You Keep a Crow as a Pet?

It is not recommended to keep a black crow as a pet. Crows need to be with other crows, and if you see one that isn't able to fly, you should call animal patrol or safely place the bird in the nearest tree. Crows have many family members that will help them learn how to fly, eat and protect themselves. This is to say, you shouldn't do what we did and bring the bird into your home.

What Should You Do If You Find a Baby Bird?

Though many people might feel tempted to do what my family did and bring the bird home in an attempt to rehabilitate it, that is not usually the best idea. The Humane Society recommends contacting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator rather than attempting to help the bird yourself. For more information, here is an article all about what to do if you find a baby bird.

Here's my boyfriend holding the injured crow we took home.

Here's my boyfriend holding the injured crow we took home.

A Caw for Help? Our Story of Crow Rescue

Once, during our evening walk around the neighborhood, my daughter and I saw a cloud of black crows flying above our heads. As we came to a certain spot on the sidewalk, the crows started squawking louder and came closer and closer to our heads. To our surprise, there was a smaller crow lying in the street next to the curb. It, too, was squawking pretty loud. My daughter automatically said, "Oh Mom, please help the poor bird."

I Wanted to Help the Crow, But What About My Superstitions?

Covering my head and telling my daughter to hurry, I walked past the hurt crow and headed home. Why didn't I help it? I was (and still am) a little superstitious about black crows. Have you ever heard that they are bad luck? Or that they represent death? The superstition is silly to some people, but others take it very seriously. I have to admit, I fall into the latter category.

What seemed like an hour speed-walking home was really only a five-minute walk back. My daughter couldn't wait to get home and tell her dad about the hurt crow. Although I felt guilty for not stopping and helping it, I knew my boyfriend wouldn't hesitate to help the injured animal—he loves exotic animals and pets. As I expected, my daughter and her dad grabbed a box and walked down the block to rescue the crow.

Imprinting

Wildlife rehabilitators wear visors to hide their face when feeding fledglings because crows imprint easily. It is best to avoid interacting with a found crow in order to give them the best chance of returning the wild.

Though I Was Hesitant, We Brought the Crow Home.

Within minutes, they were on the porch petting, examining, and talking to the injured bird. Peeking my head out the front door, it seemed like the crow was as big as a raven. However, it was still just a baby. As my boyfriend carried it into the house, I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers, praying it would not bring any bad luck or deaths.

The black crow's feathers were all ruffled and it looked as if a cat or predator had attacked it, but we don't think that's what happened. There was no noticeable blood on the crow, nor did it have any broken limbs. Therefore, we assumed that the bird must have fallen out of its nest and couldn't yet fly.

Fledglings

Crow fledglings will look disheveled, hungry, and will even “gape” if something is dangled in front of their mouth. It’s important not to disrupt the natural process of a baby crow fledging the nest. Only intervene if you fear the fledgling is abandoned or injured.

Not knowing what to do with the bird next, I got online and did some research about crows, including what diseases they carry, general information, and—yes—superstitions about them.

After a Night Inside, He Was Eager to Return to His Family.

We babied the crow and kept it overnight. Throughout the night, the bird perched on my boyfriend's finger and was very tame. He then let it rest in a cardboard box where he had placed a clean towel down for padding. He also gave it water and tried to feed it. However, the bird just rested and had no appetite. My daughter and boyfriend were able to pet the bird without any problems. I, on the other hand, kept my distance from it.

In the early morning, it started making loud squawking noises. My boyfriend took it out to the patio to see if it was able to fly yet. Unfortunately, it was not yet able. Outside, we could see the crow's family flying around and squawking loudly. It was like the crow's parents were looking for their baby. We then decided to take the black crow back to where we found it so that its family could find him/her. The older crows recognized their baby and started being very protective, making loud caw-caw noises and swooping ever closer to my boyfriend's head.

A (Seemingly) Successful Rescue

Later that day, we went to go check on the crow and it was gone. We believe it was either hiding from people or it was able to follow its family to a safe habitat.

If you have had a similar animal-rescue experience, please take time to comment below this post. I would enjoy learning more about black crows, exotic animals and exotic pets.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2010 Tammy Frost Winters

Comments

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on August 26, 2020:

As long as she is eating and doesn't seem to be physically hurt then I would enjoy her company. However, if she is hurt and no longer eating then please take her to an Animal Rehab or rescue center or call them.

Teresa Woroniecka on August 26, 2020:

Early summer mother crow was coming everyday for food while having chicks , but one of her chicks , mother left on my balcony, since then , the baby is every day visiting me, and spend hours seating on balcony together with me, I’m feeding her, sometimes her sibling will pass by only to eat some of her food, and I don’t know if she is waiting for her family?, or she is just safe here?, what to do?

Deborah on June 06, 2020:

05 June 2020

Four summers ago l discovered a baby crow in my backyard. In our front yard we have a large blue spruce tree with the crow's nest. It had made it from the nest, across our roof to the ground but could not fly - had barely any wings. Perhaps tossed from the nest by it's siblings. Anyway, we fenced off the section of the yard it was in from our dogs and put out a tray of water and some dog kibble. It's family hung around watching us and took the kibble to feed him with. Eventually he learned to pick it up on his own but whenever it's mother was around squawked until she fed him. Its mother became very trusting of me and would wait for me to put out the kibble and other treats she could feed her family. It was so interesting learning about the crows social circle and getting to know the 'family'. They all grew to trust me. What totally surprised me is that they didn't go after any of the other birds nests around our property and I figure it's because I kept them fed. Maybe...

The next summer the entire family happily hung around our trees watching me and actually following me as I walked my dogs around the block. I continued putting out dog kibble and nuts and table scraps for them. Last summer the group had dwindled to just a few, the mother and one of the other siblings I think, as well as the baby we had rescued.

This summer, there is just one crow and he literally sits about 3 feet away from me whenever I am out doing yard work and follows me around. I do continue brining out dog kibble and other treats for it. I'm assuming he is the baby I helped because he is totally accustomed to me. He waits for me on the railing to our back porch, peering into my kitchen windows, waiting for me several times a day. i don't feed him every time I see him. Sometimes he just sits on the railing with his back towards me just staring out into the trees etc... He will sit there for 1/2 hour at a time often. 3 feet away from me.

My family and friends are totally amazed that he is that "devoted" to me but to be honest, it's a little unnerving when I'm sitting in our yard or on our back deck and he/she decides to visit, swooping in and landing beside me and just stares at me making weird little cooing and clickiong type of noises. People ask me if he has brought me gifts of appreciation and I can honestly say he has. He brings little round pebbles, a button, weird little twigs and things like that. He returns to me things he doesn't like to eat. hahah! He is not a fan of bread and makes them into little balls and leaves them on the railing of our deck.

As I sit here typing this he is outside my window... waiting. LOL!

Just thought I'd share...

Vicky on April 12, 2020:

Recently a crow crashed on our terrace shed and fell into our parking lot the bird was injured and could not fly I took the crow to vetenary hospital and got some medicines.it is now 4 days I am looking after it but it's not able to fly o think it has injured its wings and could not fly again.I don't know what to do now.please guide

Anthony on April 05, 2020:

In india the crow is considered connected with Lord Sani,so the crow should always be respected and fed and never mistreated, as all animals should be.Feeding the crows on Saturn's day is said to be auspicious

siva Arivalagan on August 03, 2019:

I believe still the crow's relative's follows you mam

AB on September 08, 2017:

As I read comments below, felt like sharing an incident recently. When I was about to park my car at night, I noticed a hatchling finding it difficult to cover from rains. I picked it up, took inside, wiped it with cotton cloth and tired my best to feed water with a syringe. Since it was adamant not to have anything, took a small cardboard box and kept it on top of cloth. Remember, all I did on humanitarian grounds. Out of curiosity sent a picture of it my friend to check which one is it. Initially I thought it might be of a sparrow later got to know, it is crow hatchling.

The moment my friend saw the pic, he told me to keep box outside of my house, since Crow is considered as a bad omen in India. Next day morning when I noticed, it was healthy and was in the same box. Later in the

Evening, kept it outside of our house and by morning couldn't find it... I hope it's in safe hands.

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on February 24, 2014:

Yes maybe I will write a hub on it one day... Thanks for reading.

Ashutosh Tiwari from Lucknow, India on February 23, 2014:

@tammy frost A nice story. Could you tell me something about the owls and their relation to the witchcraft ?

Simon Bedard on September 09, 2013:

Just the last almost two years,I have been feeding these birds and squirrels in my backyard every morning.Yes they're are a lot of crows too! I'm in Windsor ,Ontario,Canada,and love little creatures.No,I'm not superstitious about crows.Like I said ,I love them all! I just am 50 and live in eastern Windsor ,will love any information on them....TAKE CARE and GOD BLESS them and you and yours.

helena thomas on June 18, 2013:

went on holiday left my wee dog with my son she is 13 yrs old always worry about her wen im away she.s my baby my daughter n son had her out but 4 days out of the week a big black crow was squacking over her head the same 1 each time they took her out they say it's a sighn of death I don't think so crows are nice birds maybe the crow new she was missing her mummy

Rosalee Ojeda on May 27, 2013:

I Love Black Crows , especially when they squack , or talk to each other , I have always kept a distance . But recently one of them came so close to me and made me take notice . It seemed to be trying to communicate , and I stood there paralyzed in curiosity . It's Body language was of full attention and flew around from perch to perch as I moved closer to the front door of my Home . My Husband could hear the squacking and felt Threatened for me , but I assured him it was alright. That This Bird was friendly. Today Two weeks Later I saw an injured Black Bird at the Park , and immediately got the tools to rescue the bird , but , came into full awareness this bird was not alone and well protected by the Large group of feathered family members all around. when they flew over my head squacking loud , I knew I was outnumbered and retreated back to my truck and went home to call animal control services or humane society . Happy Memorial Day.5-27-13

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on August 19, 2012:

I am not completely sure on the superstition of Black Crows but I am so sorry to hear about your son.

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on August 19, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your story with helpful tips. (Vitamin Bottles, good Idea).

Katherine Fikely on August 16, 2012:

My son just passed away. I saw three blacbirds in my yard just looking.I've never seen anything like this before. Is there some meaning behid this?

Marissa on August 15, 2012:

When I was a child, my brother brought home a finch of some kind that had fallen out of the nest of the building he worked in. We kept him in a box initially with vitaming bottles filled with warm water wrapped in cloth to keep him warm. We fed him egg yolks mixed with water, fed from a plastic bag with the corner cut off. We didn't know back then that it was illegal for us to keep him. He was a wonderful pet. One day my mother let him go when I was away. I felt terrible and I think he probably didn't survive long because he had no idea how to find food outside. Now whenever I find a bird or animal, I always contact my local wildlife rehabilitator. A crow recently was hit by a car in front of our house and I tried to help it (with the other crows going crazy) but it was too badly injured and died within a few minutes. The crows called for hours.

Chris on June 19, 2012:

I think superstitious belief's regarding Birds and death is ridiculous and clearly pre 1500's- anyone who thinks a hurt bird a crow or any other bird is a bringer of death needs to really have there head examined. Birds are beautiful and have nothing to do with death or some old wives tale.

In the stone age era- before logic ruled the people.. people didn't understand disease or bacteria. birds can carry bacteria.. and if someone touched a bird without watching there hand could get sick and thus the misconceived concept- if a bird is hurt help it.. dont be ruled by ignorance..

solimar on June 14, 2012:

i love this it actully happened to me before

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on June 06, 2012:

@mockingbird303 Good For you for taking care of Oscar...Best of luck to you. Thanks for sharing your story.

mockingbird303 on June 02, 2012:

My daughter came home from taking her siblings to the bus stop. she says to me that a baby bird was on the ground and some kids were being mean to it. we went to check on it and sure nuff, was laying there, helpless.

the family was pissed but i couldn't leave it there, not where we live and not with the animal loving kids that i have raised. so, we called animal control as we sat there with it. when they came the lady told me if they take it they will have to euthanize it. i looked at my daughter and i said no, i cant allow that. so she gave me the number to some rehabilitation places, but they couldn't come get it. so, here it is, 2 weeks later and he still lives with us, we feed his hungry butt very often with soaked dog food, chicken etc. he hears my voice and goes crazy. i have told my kids, when his flight feathers come in (the sibling plucked out the feathers) we will release him an hope that the family hasn't givin up hope. he fell out of the nest with a push from the sibling we believe. i believe he was the weaker one in the nest from the looks of him. but he has gained weight, looks happy and healthy. down feathers are coming in nicely. i know we can not keep him, so i am trying not to get attached to it. but we did name him, and his name is oscar. lol! he is a grouchy bird, but has never pecked any of us. unforturnatly he can not perch yet. we keep our fingers crossed for this fella. as oscar needs his family back.

Christine on May 20, 2012:

I found this great hub as I searched for crow info as we have a "murder" (family) of crows who have taken to roosting in our very tall trees in the backyard. Today we heard intense screams and calls from three or four trees and one of the "family" members was on our gate, and seemed to be injured. It hopped/fell from the fence, the other crows began cawing and screeching as the bird hopped into our neighbors yard.

My husband was concerned about West Nile Virus, the bird has now hopped into our dense shrubbery in the backyard and the other birds are gathered acound the trees, still. It is amazing how intensely protective these animals are! I was very reassured to learn transmission of disease is uncommon, and will look tomorrow morning for the injured bird. I will also be sure to tie out my dogs rather than allowing them to run the yard before I find the bird, if he/she is still in the back of our yard.

Again, thank you! What interesting birds crows are! I do hope, though, that they don't take up residence in our yard as they seem to drown out all other bird song and we love the finches, cardinals, robins, and hummingbirds and crows do seem to demand a lot of attention with their language and social structure!

Novo on May 12, 2012:

I had a black crow fall from the sky and nearly hit my car I braked and turn so I won't hit it and when I looked down all I could see was a sort of a flatten crow it was a fully grown one I turn to go around it and around the corner as I was holding traffic up and when I looked back it was gone its the most freaky thing I have every seen I am not sure what happened or what it means

Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on May 06, 2012:

Thank you Tammy for the tale of the Black Crow. They are one of the most intellegent birds which is why many people fear them and talk in terms of Black Magic - this is total nonsense.

As a boy in Devon I had a Black Crow as a pet (or to be more accurate she had me as a pet !) Every morning she would come to the house, pick up a pebble in her beak and bang on the glass of the kitchen window. She would do this 3 times a day and each time was rewarded with a small pork chop. Great character, she was, until one she came no more.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on February 29, 2012:

Very nice story about your family nursing the feeble baby crow and your knowledge of black crow supersition piqued my reading interest. This supersition reminded me of the horror film Omen-II where the evil crow is a minor yet integral part of this film. When I was in higher studies at school, in my home, my mom found a pigeon building a nest in our balcony. In my country, birds inside the house is considered not good for the house. However, this pigeon laid 2 eggs. Mom allowed it to stay. We gave it a tiny cup of water & a small portion of grains daily. One unfortunate day, it fought with the crow and that crow won. I and my mom did not know this until we saw the crow's feathers. We saw that the pigeon lost her eggs. We felt sorry. She looked very upset and after few days, she flew away. She sometimes visited our balcony and I sensed its gratitude inspite of its sad loss. I hoped she have more babies & be more careful with them.

Thanks for SHARING. Interesting. Voted up & Socially shared.

Leslie on January 13, 2012:

Many years ago when I was an 8 year old school boy and living in a medium sized country town we used to visit the back of a Hotel, because they had a talking Parrot there, and it was fun.

Unfortunately some one taught the Parrot how to swear, and quite well.

So the Parrot disappeared.

Months and Months later, we noticed that the Hotel had placed a Black Crow into the old Parrots Bird Cage, and by the time we had discovered the Crow, it was already talking, and much to our surprise, much better than the old Parrot ever was.

When I say better than the Parrot the pronuniciation of the words was much clearer, more like that of a real person than a bird.

I've since heard another Crow talking and it too has very clear sounds.

Admiral_Joraxx from Philippines on November 16, 2011:

That crow is still young maybe he is still not able to carry out superstitions. haha! I have heard this crow superstition a lot. It was said that they actually act as takers or keepers of the souls. Though I don't believe in it fully. Thanks for sharing this. great read. 1 vote up!

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on September 15, 2011:

@chloe It is nice to hear you want to keep it but I have heard that it is recommended that you contact animal control. My story above was the first time I had experience with a black crow but above Amy stated "The best thing for short term feeding a baby crow is dry dogfood soaked in water". You are welcome to read the above article again and the comments to get additional tips. Please let me know what happens. Good Luck to you.

chloe bammann on September 15, 2011:

Hi again, just left something out. I have been seeing this crow for about 5 weeks but it is getting ready to fly and it is like it doesn't even know me any more. i really want to keap it so can you give me some facts about having a crow around my house as a pet.

Pleas help?

chloe bammann on September 15, 2011:

How about baby crows. i have one at my house and people say they make good pets. can i keep it or not?

jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on August 17, 2011:

What a great hub and so well written. I would help any sick or injured animal as I love all animals and birds. When I lived in Scotland I kept a pony at a local yard. On the stable floor one day was a pigeon just sitting in the straw. It couldn't fly, but didn't appear to be injured. I took it to my dad and he kept it in his garage for a few days feeding it up and allowing it to rest. We took it back up to the stables to see if it could fly and it could. It took off and flew away, then came back and circled above us before flying off. My daughter says it was saying "thank you!" I think it must have been stunned or exhausted, but was fine after a few days of rest.

Amy Leu on July 09, 2011:

I enjoyed reading your story of the crow. They steal my heart:0 I am a state and federally permitted wild bird rehabilitator and have a non-profit wild bird sanctuary with a crow and 2 ravens. You did the best thing when a bird is not injured and that is putting it back to the parents and family. Baby crows are always very tame and imprint easily, hence the reason for 2 of my ravens, one of whixh talks. Once a person imprints a crow or raven, the bird family will never take it in and the baby has no clue as to how to act like a bird. The best thing for short tern feeding a baby crow is dry dogfood soaked in water. Most people have no clue that is is illegal for the public to keep a bird, they need to turn it over to a liscened rehabber with the permits. I commend you for doing what was best for the precious:)

Erin LeFey from Maryland on February 22, 2011:

Wonderful hub! I came across it when I was doing google research for my own hub! I linked it to mine. I love the story about the injured bird and the other information you provided. I voted you up, Namaste.

onthefence on January 26, 2011:

This is a great story. I'm on the fence on whether I like crows or not. I have a murder of crows camping behind my house. I am constantly clean bird droppings of my cars because it is so harmful to the paint. Some of my neighbours' cars are completely covered with droppings and it is nasty! On the other hand they are super smart. For instance they wake up early and fly north every day at first light. It's like they go to work. Then they return in the evening. They also have a weird rotation they do. They will disappear for a night or two then return in all their pooping glory. Well that's my on the fence story.

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on October 22, 2010:

Thanks Susan for sharing your story. I hope my article helped you a little. I figured other people would be rescuing crows too. Good luck to you and one thing I regret is letting the crow go back without knowing if the other crows would help it or not. The Black crow we found was still not able to fly when we took him back to the bushes and trees. I hope your rescued black crow gets better.

Susan on October 21, 2010:

This morning at school, my son saw several seagulls attacking a crow in the sky. The crow came crashing to the ground, injuring it's wing. He caught the bird, and managed to convince a teacher to run & find something to put the bird in.

After school, we brought the crow home & built a quick cage out on the patio for him. When we put him inside of it, he went into some kind of shock & just fell over! I carefully placed him in the nest we built, and just as I'd hoped he came around within a few minutes. He is now perched up on a branch and seems to be doing well... other than the wing.

He seems to be fairly tame, and hasn't really shown any fear of us or made a single sound. Tomorrow we'll try to stabilize his wing with a gauze wrap, and hopefully he'll be okay. Wish us luck!

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on October 02, 2010:

Very interesting! I love crows! lol I would have had to help it too. I am a sucker for helping any animal. Great story!

Tammy Frost Winters (author) from Oregon on July 26, 2010:

Thanks Lily for reading my story, I added more detail to let you know what happened to the crow. My boyfriend just got back this morning to check on it again and he still can't find it. Hopefully it is with it's family.

Lily Rose from A Coast on July 26, 2010:

Great story ..... but what happened with the injured crow??