Having only had one pet bird before (a parakeet), our familiarity with living with birds is minimal. We obsess over birds, but outside of a little bird banding, our intimacy with avian creatures is through optics.
Esther Woolfson, on the other hand, has first hand experience living with once wild birds and in Corvus: A Life with Birds, she recounts just what that is like. For reasons partially unknown, some people believe those who have birds know all about birds. Thus, Ms. Woolfson became the recipient of an onslaught of sick, injured, and orphaned birds, including an infant Rook. This corvid (that of the family of crows, ravens, magpies, rooks, jays, etc.) was named Madame Chickeboumskaya or “Chicken” for short.
This story follows Chicken’s antics and reads like a novel bringing the reader into the world of birds that become like family. In telling this tale, we learn much about the intellect of what is one of the smartest bird families in the world. Ms. Woolfson also provides some thought on the erroneous opinion that corvids are evil; some sort of connection to the underworld.
Corvus is a delightful read and gives us a glimpse into the realm of birds that many birders never see.