It is cold here in Corvidland. Since the new year, we have had temperatures in the single digits, vicious wind, and general unpleasantness. So how is everyone coping? Those with permanent down coats seem to be fine; those who are not so endowed, and whose furnace decided to die, are less enthused about how things are going.

Gwen and Stephen Crowbert

For two birds who came from Africa, our dynamic duo is surprising chill with the cold. They have a heat lamp and warming panel which they generally ignore except at night when the temperature drops into the single digits. Then they sidle over towards the warmth when they think no one is looking. Life is not without its complications, however. It is difficult to cache food as it freezes pretty quickly, making snacking a challenge. Otherwise, it’s puff up and carry on.

Gwen sunbathing in a down coat.


Zen is, I think, in a snit. Super Friend Gabby finished building the Versailles of rehab facilities in our garage, which includes a flight cage for rehab songbirds. Since there are not too many of those around these days, Zen is now in residence so we can be sure she is warm enough and not burning too many calories in the cold. (Zen clocks in at about 30 grams over the minimum weight for an adult crow, so she doesn’t have much margin for error.)

So Zen resides in (relative) warmth and splendor. But we moved her. We inflicted change upon her. She has reacted to this outrage by going on another hunger strike. Her new digs have a hideaway box where she retreats when anyone shows up. She will not come out. For anything. Ever. Not for a chicken wing tip, a peanut, or a spare rib, nothing. She will deign to take food if it is placed just below her beak but that’s about it. So we have abandoned training to learn how to come and are working on putting on jesses. Immobility has its uses.


Snafu is riding out the cold spell inside, benefitting from the space heaters we have scattered throughout the house to keep the inside temperature in the 60s. He is devoting his time to developing a repertoire of assorted shrieks, squawks, and burbles. It’s unclear what he is trying to mimic, although suggestions have ranged from screaming children to water running through pipes. No car alarms….yet. He is, however, developing a very respectable crow call.

Snafu taking a break from weird sound production to hop around with a peanut