Manitoba·Audio

Charlie the Crow finds friend in Brandon groundskeeper

Gerald Dillon, of Brandon Man., found an injured crow while at work. Using the internet he nursed the baby bird back to health, and made a new friend in the process.

Gerald Dillon went to the internet to learn how to feed a crow and fix a broken leg

Gerald Dillon says Charlie sometimes gives him hugs when he lands on his shoulder (Gerald Dillon)

A rescued bird in Brandon, Man., is growing up fast, and Gerald Dillon is documenting every moment he can.

"I have more pictures of him than my grandkids," says Dillon of the crow he now calls Charlie.

Dillon spotted the baby crow in May when he was mowing the lawn of Victoria Woods Estates. It had fallen from a tall pine tree and Dillon worried about its safety.

"He was near the road and I didn't want him to die, so I brought him home and put him in a box. I had some spare T-shirts and I used those as his bedding." 

With a little help from the internet, Dillon learned what to feed the bird. While the dog food it suggested did the trick, he now knows that Charlie's favourite treat is cheese.

If I scold him, he'll snuggle up to me and cuddle.- Gerald Dillon

The internet again proved useful a few weeks after the rescue when Dillon noticed the bird was crawling on its belly rather than using its feet.

"I noticed a break in his leg, looked up splints and splinted his leg with tongue depressors from the doctor. I cut them down and fitted them on his little leg. He was walking two weeks after that."

Now that Charlie is flying, his personality is coming out. 

"He hates lighters," says Dillon, going through Charlie's growing list of traits. "If you listen, you can hear him say 'Hello.' If you're sitting, he'll undo your shoelaces. He'll play fetch if you throw the stick for him."

Dillon said that people in the area bring treats for Charlie and put up with his thievery when they leave out their cigarettes. He might even be learning from his mistakes.

"If I scold him, he'll snuggle up to me and cuddle. He knows when he's being scolded, he's really smart" said Dillon, noting Charlie also purrs and can bark like a dog. 

Charlie the crow follows Dillon around the grounds, pecking at his feet and hopping on to his shoulder to get attention, but Dillon does not want to claim him.

"He's an outdoor bird, we're trying to acclimate him to his wild side." 

A few days ago Dillon witnessed some interaction between Charlie and some other crows in the yard. Dillon said he hopes that will help Charlie prepare for the winter ahead.

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