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Bob Lind, Published April 27 2013

Lind: North Dakota boys raised pet crow that did tricks, chased dog

Here’s a story to crow about.

Dean Sorum, of Moorhead, writes that his wife, the former Carol Orser, used to live in Colgate, N.D., as did her cousins Jim and Charles Wright.

Yes, they were the Wright brothers. But no, they didn’t fly. They left that up to their pet crow.

The crow had been orphaned, so the boys raised it. It would fly around the area but would always return to the Wrights’ yard.

One day, Colgate farmer Fred Mewes was doing fieldwork when the crow flew up, perched on his tractor and rode around the field with him.

Fred didn’t know it was the Wrights’ tame crow, “so he thought it was very strange when it landed on his tractor,” Dean says.

Winging it

But that crow had other tricks. Here’s one that concerned Carol Sorum’s father, Loyd Orser.

Loyd had a cocker spaniel that enjoyed lounging in the backyard on hot summer days.

One day, while Loyd and a friend were sitting in the shade, the dog got hold of a large rag and began running in circles with it in his mouth.

Well, what should show up but – you guessed it – the Wrights’ crow, which joined the game by chasing the dog. Then the crow got the rag and the dog chased it around in circles.

Soon the dog was hot and tired, so it stretched out with its belly on the cool grass, and the bird did the same, with its wings out-stretched and its legs behind.

The friend thought the dog had killed the crow, but no, Loyd said, the bird was fine.

This bird also had a game involving the dog’s food dish.

The bird would steal food pellets from the dish, fly to the center of the yard, put the pellet down, move a fallen leaf, put the pellet where the leaf had been, then cover the pellet with the leaf.

“All this,” Dean says, “reminds me of the blue jay here in Moorhead that trained Carol to give it peanuts when it pecked on the window.”

Dean’s conclusion from these stories? He says it’s that “the term ‘bird brain’ may be obsolete.”

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