Renton resident Joe Copenhaver became fast friends with a crow he rescued last spring.
After taking down a tree in Newcastle, he realized there had been a nest at the top with three baby crows. Two of the birds did not survive the fall, but one chick escaped a brush with death. Copenhaver named the featherless crow T-Rex because it looked like a baby dinosaur.
“He almost got put in the chipper,” said Copenhaver as T-Rex in all his black-feathered luster flew off his shoulder.
T-Rex quickly became a fixture in Copenhaver’s neighborhood — and home. The crow was staying outside during the day and quietly roosting in a kennel inside the house at night.
The human-crow combo were inseparable from the start. T-Rex would ride on the dashboard of Copenhaver’s truck and listen to rock music, and often perch itself on top of his best human friend’s head.
The crow eats “everything” from dog food to peanuts and steak, and also has an affinity for coffee. The crow in many ways reminds Copenhaver of a dog, wagging its tail and playing around in the yard. T-Rex has other crows he socializes with outside, including another crow the neighbors call Bob.
Just a day after being interviewed for this story on Nov. 11, T-Rex had not returned home, Copenhaver said.
“He’s been out all night a few times, but always shows up in the morning,” he said.
However, after a few more days, Copenhaver was fearing worst.
“I’m sure something happened,” he said Nov. 18, nearly a week since he last saw T-Rex. “One of the saddest things I’ve ever dealt with. Unreal.”
A video of Copenhaver and T-Rex can be viewed at rentonreporter.com.
Crows belong to a family of birds known as corvids, which include ravens, jays, magpies and more. John Marzluff, a professor at the University of Washington, is one of the world’s leading corvid researchers who has published studies on how crows’ brains are similar to mammalian brains when it comes to memory, fear, vision and reasoning. Crows are among the most intelligent bird species. One study shows that crows recognize individual human faces and can associate these faces with positive and negative feelings.
Audubon magazine reports that crows have complex social lives. Some crows are capable of using tools, playing tricks and even holding funerals for dead crows.