Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2008-09

Here’s a piece ShelVy aimed at our “critters” issue – but which reads fine now!

Edgar Allen Crow

Shelby Vick


When my daughter Diane was eight, she found a young crow that had fallen out of its nest. She brought it home, of course. (Diane was always bringing home injured wild animals she would take care of until they could go on their own. Except, of course, for the time she hid a full-grown duck in her room until its owner came for it. . . .) Anyway, we went back to where Diane had found it but could find no sign of its mother or nest.

I named him Edgar Allen Crow. Our library told us of a duchess (Mrs Olson; she never used her title) who lived at the beach and was an expert on wild animals. We phoned her and she had us bring Edgar out. After examining him, she told us he was about six weeks old, and a fish crow. Fish crows are smaller than the standard crow.

I built a cage for Edgar out of hardware cloth but, mostly, we let him run free; the cage was just for night. Diane would take him outside and perch him on a limb. Crows would gather and talk to him, and he would tell them all about this cushy “nest” of his. Eventually, he would fly back to Diane’s shoulder.

As he grew, we tried many times to get him to return to his kind. We would put him outside at night and close the door. We would hear pitiful ‘Aw-aws’ from him, but not let him in. (‘Aw-aw”, we realized, was Edgar’s name for Diane. We were never sure if it was an attempt to say ‘Maw-maw’ or what, but there was no doubt of who he was calling.)

The next morning, when we opened the door, Edgar would fly inside, scolding us, and return to his cage for breakfast.

Edgar loved going for rides with us. He spent most of the time on my shoulder. We decided that was because he knew I was in control. He’d watch the world roll by with the attitude, “Hey, this is better than flying! I’m moving without having to flap my wings.”

Edgar got the expected reaction when we’d go thru a drive-in for a snack and a drink. The girl at the window would goggle, then grin. “You’ve got a crow!”

“Yup. The French fries are for him.” Which was true; Edgar loved French fries.

We had cats as well, but they learned quickly to leave Edgar alone. As well as our scolding, there was also his sharp beak.

Once Diane found a female crow that was injured and brought her home. Of course, she became Lenore. Unfortunately, the two of them didn’t get along; Lenore felt she should rule the roost, and that didn’t go over too well. We weren’t unhappy when Lenore recovered and was released. Edgar didn’t give any indication that he missed her.

When Diane got married, she left Edgar with us – and we didn’t complain. Edgar was like another member of the family.

The years rolled by. Diane’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident, which was a severe blow. We didn’t take Edgar to the funeral.

Eventually Diane settled down and we returned Edgar to her. I read somewhere that fish crows had an average lifespan of ten years. Even tho he eventually went blind, Edgar – because, I always have believed, of Diane’s love for him – lived 28 peaceful years.

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