Animals in the wild will often reject offspring that are weak or injured. This is what happened to Jo the crow. With a lot of white feathers (probably indicating a calcium deficiency), he was kicked out of the nest and attacked by the other birds.
Luckily for him, some children found him and took him home, where he was raised in their bedroom, eating pasta, as they didn’t know what best to feed him.
Birds usually imprint on their mother when they are very young, and identify as that species thereafter. So Jo imprinted on the children caring for him.
Imprinted birds should not be released back to the wild because they are unable to communicate well with their own species, and additionally can behave inappropriately towards other humans – having a large bird flap at your face unexpectedly is unlikely to be recognised by most people on the street as an invitation to play!
This was a problem when Jo’s new family had to travel abroad when he was a young adult. Luckily, rather than spending the rest of his life in an aviary, Jo found a home with sculptor Michael Kusz, who had cared for an injured crow previously.
Michael has had a life-long obsession with corvids, who are extremely clever birds. Crows are not only one of the few birds to have been observed using tools in the wild, but can actually assemble and use compound tools, a skill only seen before in humans and great apes.
Back in the studio, Jo delights in distracting Michael from his work and stealing bits and pieces to get his attention. He is popular with visitors to the studio, many of whom come repeatedly to see him. Let us know in the comments which unusual pets you have met!