Appalachia Crows

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Old Jim The Pet Crow

My life in appalachia - Pet Crows
Crows in flight-apparently the only way I can get a photo of them.

Today’s Crow Story was written by Charles Fletcher.


I had a pet crow when I was about ten years old. I found the crow under a big pine tree hollering his head off. There were about ten crows trying to rescue him. The baby had fallen from its nest during a wind storm.

It was a little risky getting him with all the big crows nose diving me. Just the same I got him to safety. I took him home and named him Jim.

He was so small I had to feed him by dropping food in his mouth for a few days. But crows are smart and he quickly learned how to feed himself.

I had to show Old Jim off to my Grandpa Pressley so off to his house I went. Grandpa told me he had a pet crow when he was a young boy too. He told me if I split Jim’s tongue he could talk. I never did this, but I did clip the feathers off one of his wings. This kept him from flying. He would attempt to fly, but was off balance and couldn’t get airborne.

It wasnt’ long before my Mother began complaining about loosing things. It was always something shinny like small spoons or thimbles from her sewing basket. It seemed Old Jim loved shinny things.

Jim was soon as large as all the other crows that came by trying to get him to fly away with them. I quit trimming his wings and one day he flew up and joined the flock. For a few days he would come visit me when he was hungry and wanted a handout. Finally the day came, when Old Jim joined his friends and never returned to me again.

My Mother was  house cleaning when she solved the mystery of the missing items from around the house. Old Jim had a secret corner in the closet where he hid his loot.

I never had another pet crow but enjoyed Old Jim. He was a very smart cookie.


Hope you enjoyed Charles’s memories as much as I did!


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    December 29, 2020 at 10:01 am

    All pet crows were named Jim. Mine was a lot of fun, and drew fans from all around the neighborhood. One buddy somehow got on Jim’s list. Every time he visited, Jim would jump on his shoe and peck his ankles. We enjoyed messing with Jim with a mirror out in the yard. He would study his image, then go behind it to see if there was another crow back there. He also fought his image in a shiny hubcap on my dad’s car. He was a thief, like all the other pet crows. He would steal my mom’s clothespins and bury them in the grass. In the interest of full disclosure, one summer day I used Jim for a live decoy to attract and shoot crows, and he died during the night. I still regret bringing on Jim’s untimely demise.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    I remember our Grandad brought our mom a crow he got from somewhere one time. It DID have its tongue split and could say “hello.” One day mom let him out to fly with the other crows thinking he’d come back. He did, but never came closer than a telephone pole that was nearby. There he’d sit and say, “Hello” to mom, and she’d call and call and call for him to come home. I remember her in the side yard calling, “Joe,” “C’mon Joe,” “Joey”…but he never did. Then one day, he came no more. He’d gone “home” too. ;o)
    God bless.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Nice Charles stopped clipping his wings and let him go home. It must be sad for a bird whose main instinct is to fly, yet can’t. Blessed Jim got to go “home”.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Tipper–I’m mortified. I just re-read my post today and saw I used “there” for “their.” That’s somewhere between abominable and unforgivable, so I felt obliged to offer a mea culpa. Shame on me!!!! Mrs. Wood, the English teacher I mentioned in my story, would have had a red-eyed hissy.
    I don’t worry about typos and the like in these kind of situations, but my egregious mistake deserves a sound tongue-lashing.Everyone else here (except my brother, Don) is too gracious to say anything, so I’ll do it. I’m red-faced and ashamed.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Enjoyed reading about Old Jim and his antics. Crows are so different from many other birds. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Tipper and Charles–Not only crows but a number of related members of the avian clan are attracted to what Grandma Minnie used to describe as “purties.” Blue jays, jackdaws, and especially robber jays (there name comes from their penchant for taking shiny items)all do this.
    It’s sort of heartening to see that the crow did not imprint on Charles (which says a lot about the bird’s intelligence, because turkeys and quail, for example, will become completely imprinted on humans if raised around them). For anyone seriously interested in the interaction between humans and birds spread over more than a year, read “Illumination in the Flatwoods” by Joe Hutto. He actually “lived” like a turkey with a flock from the time they were hatched. A video version of the experience has recently been produced, although I haven’t seen it. Hutto’s tale is a fascinating one.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you Tipper and Charlie for a great story! My parents had friends with a pet crow. He would land on the picnic table in the yard and strut around like he owned it, sampling from everyone’s plates. Not sanitary, but fun! He also had a habit of descending on the lady of the house and trying to pull the shiny clips from her hair!
    I hate to see crow week coming to an end!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I’m beginning to like crows better
    after reading all these wonderful
    crow stories. Charles certainly has a way of bringing his life
    stories of childhood to our
    enjoyment. He gained my respect
    in his first guest posts and he
    sure hasn’t let anyone down. Thanks Charles for sharing Old Jim
    with us…Ken

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 10:47 am


  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 29, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Charles great story…I am sure, although he flew away with the flock, he remembered you!..Even when he didn’t return, and crows live a long time I understand. I wonder if any of the other crows that came for him were his relatives…I’d like to think so!..ha They may repay you in kind sometime for saving their sibling or uhhh crowling! ha
    Thanks for another great post
    Tipper and thank Charles for Old Jim….

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

    My husband said they had a crow that hung around their house when he was a child. He used to steal and hide shiney things too. I have a pair of cats that do the same thing. I have to be sure and put away jewelry, paperclips, pens anything they can get their mouths around. They hide them under the furnaiure

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Charles, that’s a great story. I’m glad Jim got to go back to his people even though I’m sure it broke your heart. Wonderful experience for a young man!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 8:33 am

    not only crows and other birds like shiny things, but my friends cat, steals anything shiny from watches to jewelery, it is shines it is his. he hides them in bags and in corners.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Charles– a nice story about Old Jim. I’m glad he flew off with the other crows, although that probably made you sad. I had the same experience with a baby Blue Jay (a relative of crows). A huge gang of jays came by one day and he flew off with them. It was a happy event! Thanks for your story!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I totally forgot yesterday to mention the video (the best part)of your story.
    So, today first let me say how much I enjoyed the story of Old Jim.
    Now, that video of the crows yesterday was great. The perspective (looking upward) through the canopy gave it an identity of its own. Looked scary.
    Now I am wondering if you are saving the best for last. If so it is gonna be good

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Wonderful story! I think they’re very smart birds too!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Hubby had a pet crow, who was also a thief.
    We found his stash up in the barn loft.
    I shared this story with him and he enjoyed it too.

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