Carrion Crow Gismo – An Obituary

30th June 2021

Once again, a big hole has been left in our hearts. One of our beloved friends and extended family members has moved on. Gismo, our beautiful carrion crow, has passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Carrion Crow Gismo

He came to us as an adult bird at the age of 15 years. Gismo has been rescued as a badly injured and orphaned fledgling, but recovered well after a lot of tender loving care. Unfortunately, later on, both of his release attempts failed. Gismo eventually grew up well cared for together with a resident jackdaw and a rook. After the second of his two companions passed away, we have been asked to take over Gismo’s care, as he became increasingly lonely and distressed. We got to know Gismo as a calm and laid back bird, who enjoyed the interaction with both, humans and his own kind. To our astonishment, Gismo quickly found his place in one of our two residential carrion crow groups, where he settled in very well. Initially we had been very nervous and anxious about how the dominant carrion crow pair Colin and Pepper would react towards the new group member, but we were pleasantly surprised by how things worked out. Unlike other group members, Gismo did not have to work his way up and through the social carrion crow group hierarchy. From the very beginning, literally at his arrival, and most likely due to his seniority, he inherited a special place amongst his new family group members. A place of honour, so to speak, which seemingly came with special privileges attached. This became even more obvious over the next 6 years we had the privilege to have Gismo with us in our sanctuary.

Over the years Gismo developed some common age related health issues, such us cataracts and a mild arthritis. It was astonishing to watch that his crow friends adapted their way of living by allowing him for example to eat undisturbed and without competition, by also giving him the time and freedom he required to go on with his personal business. This type of behaviour is not necessarily something one would be able to observe in the wild, and has clearly shown to us once again the impressive intelligence of corvids. It has also highlighted the well known but widely ignored fact that these birds are capable of empathy towards their own kin and that they are able to adapt easily towards new and unusual environments.

6 years later, after a very short illness, Gismo passed away peacefully in our arms at the age of 21 years, and will be greatly missed by us and his crow family. Rest in peace Gismo, you will never be forgotten.

“The next time you look into an animal’s eyes, look deep and long. You will see their inner beauty and feel their inner soul.” 

Anthony Douglas William in ‘Inside The Divine Pattern’.

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