Benjamin Beats The Odds

This is the last in my series of  City Crow Stories updates for now, and concerns Ben, the crow with one very badly bent foot.

The stories I tell about crows are true and, therefore, do not always come with happy endings. For many months I assumed that Benjamin’s story was along the lines of:  “spirited but injured crow tries his hardest to beat the odds and stay alive, but fails in the end.”

I took the photograph of Ben seen below on May 8, 2022. He’d managed to make it through most of the fractious and competitive nesting season, without seeming to have a settled territory of his own. He always seemed to be with several birds so I couldn’t even really tell if he had a mate who had his back, as Mabel did for George.

After the long damp spring came an even longer, hot, dry summer which lasted well into October. Autumn was barely sputtering to a start when she was rear ended by a wildly impatient Winter. All of this happened without a single sighting of Ben.

As I thought about writing my City Crow updates, I envisioned having to share the sad news of both Mabel and Ben’s disappearances.

It was, then, a bit of an early holiday gift to have him just suddenly pop up again. He came surrounded by a rowdy gang of other, able-footed crows and walked right up to me as we’d seen each other only the day before.

The return of Benjamin, December 2022

I did, of course, ask him where he’d been, as is only polite. He answered me in a series of caws that could have been an animated recounting of his epic adventures — or he may just have been asking for peanuts.

I guess we’ll never know …

Benjamin, January 2023

February 2023

The story of Benjamin continues to unfold, with random appearances every few weeks, just to let me know he’s still out there, doing his best.

The stories of ALL the crows are constantly evolving. If I only had the time, I could write a daily post relaying all the small things I notice, the beautiful moments and the never ending puzzle of the crow world. The crows in your neighbourhood are just as fascinating as the seven I wrote about, and I strongly encourage you to tune into your own local crow soap operas.

Thanks so much for following along with these stories and to the many of you who purchased copies of my book. Only four copies remain on my shelf, which is pretty amazing for a book that was self published and un-advertised.

Crows are excellent story tellers, so I think it was a good decision to mostly hand the narrative reins over to them.



For the rest of the City Crow Stories … A Year On posts:




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11 thoughts on “Benjamin Beats The Odds

  1. We have a similar crow with a similarly bent foot. !’m wondering if there is any way of capturing him and taking him to a vet to have the foot fixed? Do you think this could be possible? There could be some short-term trauma, but it would be better for him long-term.

    Our crow is called Blacky, a dark and handsome crow, who is the offspring of Whitewing (named before your White Wing!), a very charismatic black-and-gray hooded crow.

    • I’ve often wondered about trying to catch an injured crow and getting them help, but they’re so fast and suspicious, even with deformities or injuries I can’t even imagine how to go about it. Maybe best to talk to a vet to see if help is possible before attempting the difficult task of catching Blacky.

      • Probably I would have to catch both Blacky and Whitewing, as they are an inseparable pair. I thought they were offspring and parent, but not am not so sure. Blacky has a new problem (in addition to the bad foot, which looks exactly like that of Benjamin), namely one wing (or the wing feather on one side) is drooping. But the crow is able to fly OK…

      • Catching a clever, airborne crow is a near impossibility, unless one uses some kind of humane trap. Here is a description of “Larsen” traps (like the old Havahart traps).

  2. Thank you for your update on the crow families in your neighbourhood. We used to have many crows in our neighbourhood and then one year when there were fears about an illness being spread by mosquitos the crows all disappeared and have not resurfaced. They are such gregarious birds and we enjoyed hearing them or at least seeing them on occasion. So, our stories help make up for our loss.

    • Wow.. and no investigation was made in your area? A large established murder of crows isn’t just going to ‘disappear’ unless something really nefarious happened – poisoning… or yes, a virus or illness.

  3. Thanks, as always, for a great post. Glad to hear Benjamin is doing ok – and may he thrive for many more years. It’s not easy being a crow, let alone one with a bent foot!

  4. Thanks for this update on poor Benjamin, June. I always feel sorry for the crows with injuries or malformations like this, especially the more severe ones. It just breaks the heart. Honestly, I don’t know how they continue to survive under these conditions, but they are definitely nothing if not an incredibly hardy and resilient bird. I’m guessing beak injuries or malformations are the worst – since its their very means of sustaining themselves. I have seen quite a few in recent years with the twisted beak, which I believe they are born with. I know those ones do not last long. And I can’t help but feel that is caused by something in the environment – chemicals, or toxins of some kind. Thanks for this update, though. It is cheering to still see Ben hanging in there! 🙂

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