Friendly and rude crow befriends entire Oregon elementary school before state police are called
A friendly, if somewhat rude, crow became a temporary mascot at Allen Dale Elementary School in November when the bird took up residence at Grants Pass School.
“This crow showed up at our school just out of the blue one morning,” Naomi Imel, education assistant at Allen Dale, said by phone Thursday.
He started peeking into classrooms, Imel said, and pecking at doors. At one point, he visited a fifth-grade classroom where he “helped himself to the snacks,” she said.
Imel said the bird was not aggressive at all and seemed to like children.
“It landed on some people’s heads,” she said.
And, she added, it spoke. The bird might say, “What’s up? and “I’m fine” and “a lot of swearing”.
“It was like a parrot,” Imel said. “That was the weirdest thing.”
Yet, because it was a wild animal that didn’t want to leave, the school called animal control.
“It was all production,” Imel said. “Animal control came out and decided it was not their business to catch the crow.”
Then an Oregon State Police wildlife officer came to the scene.
“This officer was able to feed him from his hand,” Imel said. “They didn’t want to tag him because if they missed he would remember it.”
According to Imel, all ranks came out to witness the talkative raven’s attempt to capture it.
The crow seemed to enjoy the attention, playfully chasing the children around the track, she said.
“We thought it would fly away, but it didn’t,” added Imel. “The children were like magnets.”
In the end, the wildlife soldier was unable to capture the crow, which spent the night of November 29 outside the school.
Turns out talking crows didn’t just come out of an Edgar Allan Poe poem. And this crow, or maybe and more in the line of Poe, crow, knows at least 40 words.
“He knows a lot of words, I’m not going to lie,” Daphnie Colpron said Thursday. “His vocabulary has expanded considerably in recent weeks.”
Colpron knows a lot about the crow, or possibly the raven – which can also be a female – because his mother rescued the bird about two years ago when he was a baby, bringing him back to the family farm in Williams from shelter. and naming it “Cosmo”.
The family has dogs, including a mastiff named “Tonka Truck,” Colpron said.
“Cosmo will say, ‘Tonka, you come outside,’ or he’ll say, ‘Dogs out,'” she said.
“Sometimes he uses profanity,” Colpron added.
Colpron’s mother, JaNeal Shattuck, considers Cosmo part of the family.
In the morning, she says, “He’ll go straight to my bedroom window and say, ‘Mom, wake up, wake up!'”
There’s a daycare in the neighborhood and Cosmo loves kids, Colpron said.
“As soon as he knew what time the kids had arrived,” she said, “he would go over there and hang around.”
Shattuck is an animal rescuer but Cosmo is very special to her. She considers him a free bird but also has a close attachment to him and so when he disappeared after returning from an out-of-town Thanksgiving she was “devastated”, she said. “He’s like a person, not a bird.”
At first, Shattuck feared that Cosmo had been killed. It seems that while some neighbors loved Cosmo as much as Shattuck and Colpron, not everyone was so thrilled with the talking bird.
Cosmo is not aggressive, everyone involved with him agreed. But, says Colpron, “if people are scared of Cosmo, he finds it kind of funny.”
“He’s going to get obnoxious,” she added, saying he likes to tease people.
As the family left for Thanksgiving, they said a neighbor captured the bird and took it to a local animal sanctuary. The Sanctuary, not realizing he was used to humans, released him, presumably at Grants Pass.
Once out, Shattuck says, he began looking for a house, causing quite a stir in town.
“Cosmo would sit on top of Planet Fitness, talking to people who came in,” Shattuck said. “He was looking for me”
Shattuck posted on Facebook about the lost bird, hoping to find it.
After following a family friend in a truck that Shattuck and Colpron think they recognized, Cosmo ended up in Allen Dale.
“He went to the only kid I know of in Allen Dale and knocked on the door,” Shattuck said. “When he was in school, he was jumping around saying, ‘It’s okay! I’m fine!’
It was the fifth grade class where Cosmo found some snacks.
That night, when the child told the story of the crow talking to his father, the father called Shattuck. Colpron went the next day to fetch Cosmo.
“It took me about 45 minutes to deliver sardines,” she said.
She stroked the bird and waited for it to close its eyes, then caught it.
Colpron thinks he’s happy to be home. He did not return to visit the neighbors who captured him.
But while the story of Cosmo the Crow or the Talking Crow and his family is sweet, the Oregon State Police prefer not to take inspiration from it.
“We don’t want people making pets out of wild animals,” OSP spokeswoman Stephanie Bigman said. “If they had contained that bird, it would have been a wildlife offense.”
For now though, Cosmo is free and home, and the Allen Dale kids have a story to tell this holiday season that no one will believe.