As regular readers may remember, I took in an injured crow last winter with a broken scapula. In spite of intensive medical care, she did not regain flight and so I’m keeping her as my first educational bird. I’ve been slowly building trust with her. She won’t take food from me, so training is a little challenging as the only reward I can give her is to leave her alone. But she will now put up with me touching her legs—the prerequisite for putting on anklets, which will then lead to jesses and glove training. So we’re making progress.


Which brings us to the key dilemma: how to figure out a name. Crows name themselves. It’s our job to be alert enough to figure out what they want to be called. I got no vibes from this one. Zero. I tried looking up names that meant silence or “watching one” but nothing made sense. Super Hub suggested Pallas from the famous Poe poem, as in:

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;

    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—

  Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Perched and sat, and nothing more certainly fits, but, to be honest, I hate The Raven. Corvids are fun-loving and full of personality, not creepy.

Meanwhile, I found myself describing the crow as “the only zen crow on the planet.” Finally it dawned on me that her name must be Zen. Duh.

As if to seal the deal, she is now calmly sporting a “boot,” a combination of vet wrap and tape that the good folk at Stahl’s Exotic Veterinary Services put on in an effort to correct the twisting of the talons on her left foot. I have done this with rehab birds who freak out at the idea of something stuck to their foot and devote themselves to getting rid of it pronto. The longest I had a shoe last was about two days. Zen seems cool with her boot. She has figured out how to get up to her perch with one functional foot and is thus content.