Meet Bo, a wild American Crow who lives in Portland, Oregon, USA. Bo is male. He is likely about two years old. He has a mate I call Lorena, who is currently nesting. But enough of the crow profile info. I'm sure what you really want to know is:
How the heck did I get a wild crow to stand on my head??
Well, to tell the truth, it was all Bo's idea. But here's the story.
IT STARTED WITH HEAD TAPSWell, actually, it started with peanuts and almonds and dog treats, but head taps came next. Head taps are what bold crows will do to a person who is a known feeder. It's a way for them to get the person's attention. Like saying, "hey, it's me, the crow you feed, got any peanuts?" Some crows aren't brave enough to touch the person, but might still swoop low over the person's head.
BO WAS VERY CURIOUS ABOUT US.And he wasn't afraid of Pilot at all!
Bo's fearlessness made me wonder if I could get him to eat from my hand. It took a couple weeks for him to feel safe, but... eventually...
WE BONDED OVER A PEANUTTHE PEANUT EXCHANGE BECAME OUR RITUAL FOR A WHILE
AND BO STARTED COMING CLOSER
AND THE HEAD TAPS TURNED INTO A GAME
IN WHICH BO WOULD FLY OVER
AND BOUNCE OFF MY HEAD
EATING OUT OF MY HAND BECAME LESS SCARYAND BO BECAME BOSSY EVEN COMING TO MY WINDOW WHILE I WAS WORKING TO DEMAND PEANUTS
And then on one particularly wet and dreary day while I was feeling depressed by the pandemic and the never-ending injustices and tragedies, Bo landed on my head. But this time he didn't jump off. He stayed on for a few seconds, and in those few seconds, all was right in the world. I didn't get a picture of that first time, or even the second or third or fifth or tenth, because those moments were so precious and all I wanted to do was be present. I also needed to build Bo's trust to get him to keep standing on my head long enough to get a video, so I started to feed him while he was up there.
And now he does it all the time.
I've had people ask me how I trained him to do it. I've had people call me the crow whisperer. The impressions people have of me are flattering, and maybe true to some extent, but the truth is, I never trained Bo. This was all his idea. He's brilliant, really. He found a reliable food source that keeps him safe from predators and free from competition. He is much more the human whisperer than I am the crow whisperer.People ask me if it's love. I would like to think so. But I'll let you be the judge of that: