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Story & Illustrations by

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Norm Nanstiel


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Publishers Page

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Table of Contents

Nonny Finds a Baby Crow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F Schroeder Starts to Grow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Schroeder Shows Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Wrens Harass Schroeder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Schroeder Goes Fishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Schroeder Gets His Wing Clipped . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Schroeder Gets into Mischief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Schroeder Goes To School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 The School Parking Lot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Summer Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Schroeder Shows His Flying Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Schroeder Fools Man Washing Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 “Shiny Things” Hiding Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Schroeder Teasing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Kitten Stalking Schroeder . . Schroeder Teases Roy’s Dog . Schroeder Teases People Too Schroeder goes Stealth... . .

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Schroeder Amuses Himself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Fun with Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Learning Words and Express Himself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 An Unexpected Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Schroeder Learns a Lesson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Nonny Learns a Lesson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Schroeder Poem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 D


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Nonny Finds a Baby Crow S chroeder was hatched sometime in mid-May, high up in a tree, deep in the park across from Nonny’s home. He had two sibling chicks and mother crow kept them warm and fed as they grew. One day Schroeder watched his mom jump into the air and fly away to find food for her fledglings. He thought “If mom can do that, I can too”. So, he hobbled up to the edge of the nest and jumped. He flapped his little featherless wings, but something was wrong, instead of flying, the forest floor rushed up to smack him hard. Schroeder sat there at the bottom of the tree stunned and dizzy while everything around him kept spinning. Just then Nonny came by looking for… whatever little boys look for in the woods.


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When he saw the little crow chick sitting there. His eyes lit up and he said: “Well, hello there, little guy; you look like you need some help. Did you fall out of the tree?” Schroeder just dizzily wobbled his head and said to himself “I didn’t fall I was flying… but there must be more to it than jumping”. So Nonny picked him up carefully and took him home. When he got home Nonny put the little crow in a box with a dish of water and some crackers. As he gently petted the birds head and talked to him; “You just rest a while and drink. You’re going to be all right little guy”. “What should I call you? I know! I’ll call you Schroeder. It’s kind of a funny name for a crow but I like it.” Schroeder liked his head being petted. It was soothing and soon he drifted off to sleep. When Schroeder woke up, he looked around and said to himself; “This doesn’t look like my nest.” All he could see were light brown walls and a round flat thing with water in it and some white flaky things on the floor. Being hungry, he picked at them and found they tasted pretty good, and the water felt good too when he put his little beak in and drank it. He didn’t like being in a box though; so he said so: “WAAARK!”

onny heard him and look down into N the box. Schroeder wondered; “What is this big creature looking down at me?” Hello Schroeder, I see you’re feeling better.” Schroeder meant to say “Where am I?” But it just came out as “WAAARK” to Nonny, but he understood. Schroeder remembered when his mom would bring food he would flap his little wings, open his beak and cry out “WAAARK-WAAARK!” And his mom would give him food. So he tried this to see if it would work on this great big creature; “WAAARK-WAAARK!” he said while flapping his wings. To his surprise it worked. Nonny disappeared for a moment then showed up with a strawberry. He held it up above Schroeder’s open beak and Schroeder jumped up and pecked at it. It tasted good! So he kept pecking at it until it was all gone, then said “WAAARK!”. “So, you like that?” Nonny said. “I’ll get some more.” Schroeder ate another two strawberries, a piece of cheese, some bread, a piece of apple, and some cheerios. Then he didn’t feel like saying “WAAARK” anymore. So, he spritzed (pooped) then closed his eyes and went to sleep.

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onny thought to himself; “I can’t keep N this little crow in a box forever! I know, I’ll make him a perch in my bedroom.” So Nonny went to work making a perch out of an old broomstick and an old music stand he found in the garage. He placed it in his room near the window with some paper under it. “There! Schroeder should like this. And he can see outside.” He was right, Schroeder did like it. Especially the little cup on it that Nonny always kept filled with food. After a few days Nonny thought it would be good to take Schroeder outside for some fresh air. He picked Schroeder up and placed the little crow on his shoulder. Schroeder clung to Nonny’s shirt as they went outside and just said “Waaark!” Nonny understood he was saying “Where are we going?” It was a beautiful day so Nonny took Schroeder off his shoulder and placed him on the grass. This was a new experience for Schroeder. He could hop around and explore without fear of falling out of a nest again. He pecked at the grass; he pecked out a pebble; he pecked at an ant. “Waaark, that was good!” He hopped here and there pecking at whatever he saw. Somethings were good and some things were not good.

fter a while Schroeder realized a few A ants and a little worm weren’t enough; he was hungry! So, he waddled up to Nonny flapping his little wings with his beak open. “WAAARK-WAAARK!” he cried. Nonny replied “OK, you’re hungry! Let’s get you something more to eat.” Nonny picked him up and put Schroeder on his shoulder and went into the house then went to the refrigerator and looked for leftovers. Schroeder kept cocking his little head this way and that way, stretching his neck to see what Nonny was doing. All the while softly saying “waaark-waaark”. Nonny found some hamburger meat and grapes and took Schroeder to his perch and put the food in the cup. Schroeder pecked and gobbled up the food as fast as he could then flapped and cried out “WAAARK” again. After some more food Schroeder spritzed and close his eyes. Nonny petted his head and back and Schroeder started softly cooing; something like a dove. “It seems like you’re happy now”. said Nonny. Schroeder was happy. So, he kept his eyes closed and went to sleep. Nonny smiled then began wondering what his life was going to be like now that he had a pet crow. He wasn’t quite sure but knew he was ready to find out.

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ach day Schroeder ate and ate and got a E little bit bigger. After a couple of weeks, his wing feathers started to grow and fill out. Nonny’s dad told him this was called molting. As Schroeder grew Nonny took him along wherever he would go. Usually, he would ride on Nonny’s shoulder but sometimes he would perch on the handlebars of Nonny’s bike as they rode around the neighborhood. Soon everyone came to know Schroeder as Nonny’s constant companion.

would hold out his arm and Schroeder would fly up to perch on it then climb up to Nonny’s shoulder. They would walk through the wooded park and Schroeder would fly from Nonny shoulder to a tree limb then from tree to tree and finally back to Nonny shoulder. By now Schroder’s little “Waaark” was starting to sound more like a “CAAW”, he was almost full grown. Now that he was big most people were afraid to get too close. Nonny and his dad were the only people Schroeder would allow to pick him up. They could grab his beak like a handle and put Schroeder on their shoulder or move him away if he was getting too curious. This came in handy when Schroeder would ignore Nonny’s call by pretending he didn’t hear it. Nonny knew his crow was too curious for his own good and could be lured into coming to him. All Nonny had to do was get down on his knees and pretend he was doing something interesting and soon Schroeder’s curiosity would get the best of him then he would fly down and land near to see what was going on. He would cock his head from side to side to see what was so intriguing and Nonny would grab his beak and put him on his shoulder. He would usually stay because that meant they were going somewhere, and Schroeder was okay with that.

s Schroeder grew, he would stretch and A flap his wings and soon he started taking short flights like from his perch to Nonny’s bed or from the ground to a fence. Nonny

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Schroeder Starts to Grow

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Schroeder Shows Off some Nonny knew the answers to and some he didn’t. How big? – Beak-to-tail about 18”. What does he eat? – Almost anything (crows are scavengers). Fly away? – I’m his family now; he feels comfortable with me. Is it a girl or boy? – I don’t know but he sure acts like a boy. Would he bite?– Yes, if he feels threatened, he is an animal so you have to be careful, his beak is sharp. A crow’s beak is quite a useful tool. He can poke holes in things, pick up things he wants, tear things apart for eating or getting at what he wants to eat, or move things out of his way. A crow’s first line of defense or attack is his beak. The Scout Leader told all the boys to thank Nonny but it was time to all go back to their class. Schroeder flew back up on Nonny’s shoulder and as they continued through the park Nonny said to him: “So, it looks like you’re a celebrity now; how does that feel?” Schroeder just cooed a little then flew off to chase a butterfly. Nonny smiled and said softly; “You silly bird”. then ran off to catch up.

herever they would go people were W curious about this odd bird on Nonny’s shoulder. One day as the pair was walking through the park the path took them by a picnic pavilion where a group of Cub Scouts were having a Nature Class. When the Cub Scouts saw Nonny with a crow on his shoulder they all came running over to see; their Scout Leader came over too. When he saw the crow was surely Nonny’s pet he asked if Nonny would tell them all that he has learned about crows. Nonny told them all about Schroeder and his habits and about things that wild crows do. While he was talking Schroeder jumped down off his shoulder and began pecking at things on the ground. Occasionally he would look up at one of the boys and cock his head and say “Waark” and all the boys would laugh. When Nonny was done telling them what he knew all the boys were quick to put up their hands and ask questions like: “Does he bite?; How big will he get?; What do you feed him?; Is it a girl or a boy crow?; “Why doesn’t he fly away?”. So many questions;

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Wrens Harass Schroeder Crows are scavengers, they will eat almost anything! You may see them eating dead things along side of the road (carrion); Yuk! They will eat garbage, bugs, rotten fruit, worms, ice cream, even broccoli! In the wild they will also pilfer birds’ nests to eat their eggs. The little birds know this and don’t like crows around. You may even see little sparrows dive bombing crows that are flying anywhere near nesting areas. You might think little birds would be afraid to attack such a big bird, but they are so much faster and maneuverable for the crow (or even hawks) to do much about it. Well, because Schroeder was so well fed, he didn’t have to steal eggs from little birds, but they didn’t know that! Quite often Schroeder would be sitting in a tree minding his own business when all of a sudden, several birds would start dive bombing him. If Nonny was anywhere around Schroeder would have to fly down and land on or near him as the birds chased him. When he was with Nonny the birds were too afraid to get close to a big human. Nonny would snicker and say: “Looks like they’re trying to teach you a lesson you silly crow. Don’t worry you’re safe with me”.

Then he thought and said, “Schroeder, it’s about time you had a cage you could stay in when you wanted to get away from things like that. Or when I have to go somewhere that you can’t come along”. So Nonny asked his dad to help him build a cage outside one of his bedroom windows. Soon Schroeder had his own cage with a roof and two perches and another bigger cup for food and water. He wasn’t thrilled about the cage but when he was in it he could see a lot more than just looking through a window so he was alright with it. Most of the time he was not in it and sometimes Nonny left the window open so Schroeder could come and go as he pleased.

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Schroeder Goes Fishing ne day Nonny decided he would go O fishing. There was a pond not far away but he needed some bait. “I know; I’ll dig up some worms. That’s always a good bait for fish.” So he got his dad’s shovel and pail and went down to the backyard to dig. After he dug up some dirt he got down on his knees and started to sift through the dirt looking for worms. Before he knew it Schroeder showed up. He flew down from the tree and landed beside Nonny and cocked his head to see what Nonny was looking for. “I knew you would show up”. said Nonny “I am digging up worms to go fishing.” Schroeder said “Caw” softly. Before long Nonny had about 10 worms in the little pale. Schroeder look down in the pail and grabbed one and ate it. “Hey!” Nonny scolded. “Those aren’t for you; they’re for the fish.” Schroeder cocked his head as if to say; “What is a fish?” Nonny replied, “They swim in the water, you like them! You’ll see”. Nonny picked up the pail and went to get his fishing pole. Schroeder flew up and landed on his shoulder and said “Caw”. Now he really wanted to see what a fish was.

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that way trying to catch a grasshopper. Something tugged on fishing line. “Ohhhh” Nonny cried out. “Something’s biting at the worm!” As he started to reel it in Schroeder saw his excitement and flew over to see what was up. He landed on his shoulder and cocked his head from side to side to see as he watched. When he saw the small fish appear out of the water, he cawed out loud “CAWW!” right in Nonny’s ear. Nonny winced at the sound so close to his ear. “Schroeder stop that! It hurts my ear!” Nonny let the fish down on the bank of the pond and said “That one’s too small to keep. I’ll throw it back in the water”. Schroeder had other ideas. He flew down and pick the small fish up in his beak and flew off with it.

I n a little while they arrived at the pond. Nonny put the pail down and put a rock on it to keep Schroeder from eating all the bait. Schroeder jumped on the rock and pecked at it and said “Waaark” then chattered softly like a spoiled little kid who wanted ice cream. Nonny took a worm from the pale and put it on his fishing hook and cast it out to the middle of the pond. Schroeder jumped and croaked when he heard the reel ‘Wiiizzzzz’ before the hook and worms splashed in the water. Nonny settle down and waited to see if any fish would take the bait. After about 10 minutes of sitting there beside Nonny Schroeder got bored and went to go chase grasshoppers. “Silly bird!” Nonny said as he watched Schroeder jump and bounce this way and

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e didn’t realize it was still on the fishing H line so as he flew away the line tightened up and Schroeder found himself flying round and round in circles. Nonny laughed and slowly reeled him in. Schroder’s circles got smaller and smaller until finally he was forced to land right next to Nonny who grabbed him and pulled the fish out of his beak. Schroeder was dizzy and squawked back at Nonny with a weak little “waaaak”. “You silly bird.” Nonny said. Schroeder was still stumbling around for a few moments as Nonny took the fish off the hook and looked it over. The fish didn’t look like it was going to swim any time soon, so he tossed it to Schroeder.

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“Here, you might as well have it now, it’s too small for me and you nicked him up pretty bad”. Schroeder tried to snap at it but missed the fish because he saw two of them. As soon as the world stopped spinning Schroeder picked it up and ate it; it tasted good, and he decided he liked the taste of fish but they were hard to fly away with in his beak. After a while Nonny had caught three fish that were big enough to keep and by this time he was out of worms for bait. Nonny picked up the pale and filled it halfway with water and put the three fish in it. All the way home Schroeder kept his eyes on the fish wondering when he could eat them. Nonny gave him a side-way glance and knew what he was thinking. “You silly bird. Don’t worry you’ll probably get some after they’re cooked”.

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Schroeder Gets His Wing Clipped house Nonny’s aunt said… “I know how to keep him from flying away again!” She went and got her scissors and cut his feathers on only one wing. Nonny was worried, “How will he fly?!” She said “He won’t. Watch”. She put him on the ground, Schroeder sat there, looked up at her and tried to fly away. All he could do was flop around in circles. Schroeder was confused and angry and cried our loud “WAAAK– WAAAK!” Nonny felt bad for his crow, losing his ability to fly must have been humiliating and horrible! His aunt said “It’s for the best for now; otherwise you will lose your crow for good. Besides they will grow back in the fall, it’s about time for him to molt anyway”. The rest of the visit wasn’t much fun for Schroeder.all he could do is sit on Nonny’s shoulder when they went anywhere with the boys. When they finally went back home Nonny’s dad clipped Schroeder’s other wing to match so Schroeder could at least make short flights with his stubby wings. And, sure enough within a month Schroeder started molting and his feathers grew back so he could be himself again.

Later that summer Nonny went to spend time with his cousins who lived on a farm in the country. Naturally he brought Schroeder with him; he thought it would be a good experience for him. Well, it was… and it wasn’t! The first few days went fine, and his cousins had fun with Schroeder around to help them with chores and fishing at the meadow pond. One morning while Nonny and the boys were having breakfast Schroeder flew off by himself. When the boys went outside Schroeder was nowhere to be found. They started calling for him then went farther and farther from the farmhouse. Finally, Nonny heard his crow answer. As they followed the sound, they found him high in a tree about 60 to 70 feet up on a branch. Nonny whistled and held out his arm but Schroeder didn’t fly down. Nonny kept calling but Schroeder didn’t budge. Finally Nonny decided to climb up and get his crow by himself. It was high up and took Nonny about 15 minutes to make his way far out on a limb where Schroeder was sitting. Nonny grabbed him and stuffed him in his shirt. Schroeder chattered all the way down. When they brought him back to the

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Schroeder Gets into Mischief Helping Neighbors

“You can’t do that! You ruined all their milk, you silly bird”. but of course Schroeder just looked at him and said “Waaark”. Another time the phone rang it was a woman from across the valley behind their house. “Come and get your crow!” she said angrily into the phone. “I just finished hanging all my clean clothes on the clothesline to dry and YOUR CROW pulled all the clothespins off, my wash is on the ground and now I have to wash them all over again!” Needless to say, Nonny had to run right over. He helped the woman pick up her dirty wash and apologized over and over. He grabbed Schroeder with both hands and held him like that all the way home. Schroeder didn’t like that and said so; “Wark, Wark, Wark”, then chattered to himself like he was complaining. Nonny spoke firmly to him as he walked; “Schroeder, you just can’t do things like that! You get yourself and me in trouble!” When they got back to the house Nonny marched right into the bedroom and put Schroeder in his cage outside the window. Schroeder pecked at the glass a few times then sat on his perch and chattered softly to himself.

very morning Schroeder would wake E Nonny up to get fed. He would fly to the bed, stand on Nonny”s chest and squawk loudly and flap his wings. Nonny would get up and get him some food and put it in the little cup. After Schroeder’s breakfast Nonny would open the window and let him fly out. Schroeder would usually stay near the house until Nonny came out and called him with his arm out so Schroeder could fly down, landing on his arm and they would go off and do something or go somewhere together. But sometimes Schroeder would go off exploring on his own and this usually got him in trouble and sometimes it got Nonny in trouble. One morning when the family was having breakfast the phone rang; it was one of the neighbors down the street. When Nonny’s mom answered a woman started screaming into her ear: “Come and get your crow!” She said, “He has poked holes in the tops of all our milk bottles to drink the milk!” So Nonny had to run down to their house to grab Schroeder and give her a fresh bottle of milk to calm her down. On the way back to the house Nonny scolded Schroeder.

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Schroeder Goes To School

Schroeder was happy to keep them amused. Mr. Miller was furious for losing control of his class and glared at Nonny and said, “Get that crow out of my class RIGHT NOW!” Nonny grabbed Schroeder’s beak with one hand and the rest of him with the other then took him to the window while Schroeder complained “Waaak, waaak” and pushed him out saying; “Go home!” then slid the window closed. Schroeder made an attempt to peck at the window and Nonny shooed him away. Once again he had to apologize for his crow’s behavior but inside, he was laughing to himself and all the students cheered him as he left the class. As he walked down the hall back to math class he heard Mr. Miller say to his class; “Alright, alright, everybody. Sit back down and let’s get back to learning music!”

onny wasn’t even free from complaints N about Schroeder when he was at school. One hot day in late September while Nonny was in math class a student from music class (Ollie) came into the classroom and whispered in the teacher’s ear. The teacher looked at Nonny and asked him to follow Ollie back to music class. When they were in the hall Nonny asked; “What’s up Ollie?” “Schroeder came in through the window in music class and Mr. Miller can’t get him out”. When they got there Schroeder was perched on one of the desk chairs and all the boys in class were throwing their pencils to him one by one to watch him catch each one, put it between his two feet and start pecking at it until it was nothing but little splinters of wood in a matter of seconds. Everyone was cheering him on, and

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The School Parking Lot I don’t want to see him here again; do you understand?”. “Yes sir, Mr. McGrath” Nonny said sheepishly. Once again, he walked over to Schroeder and grabbed his beak and said, “Come on you silly bird; you got me in trouble again”. Nonny took him home and put him back in his cage. “It looks like you are gonna have to stay her until school’s out my naughty feathered friend. I know you’re not gonna like it but school’s almost over; it will only be for about a week”. Schroeder cocked his head at Nonny and said, “Waaaak” and pecked at the glass as Nonny closed the window.

lasses were not the only trouble C Schroeder got into while Nonny was in school. One day late in May the Principal himself, Mr. McGrath, stormed into Nonny’s geography class and said, “Nonny come with me!” Nonny’s face got red as he followed Mr. McGrath down the hall and outside. There was Schroeder, in the teacher’s parking lot jumping from one teacher’s car to the next and tearing the rubber off of each windshield wiper as he went down the line of cars. Mr. McGrath pointed a shaking finger at Schroeder and said through gritted teeth; “Take your BIRD home and KEEP him there!

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Schroeder Shows His Flying Skills S chool was out for the summer and Nonny could once again spend more time with his crow and Schroeder wouldn’t be stuck in his cage. One day Nonny decided to take Schroeder to a meadow where the trees ended at the top of the park. It was a mildly windy day and when they got there Nonny started to run through the meadow where it sloped down-hill with Schroeder on his shoulder. As he ran Nonny was surprised when Schroeder opened his wings and started to fly next to Nonny. It was a thrilling feeling to watch him fly so closely. But Schroeder had more tricks to show him. As the wind picked up speed through the open meadow Schroeder started rising until he was about 30 feet above Nonny then he angled his wings to hover in the wind; appearing to hang in the sky for almost a minute. Nonny stopped running and just watched in amazement at how agile his crow

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Then Schroeder banked to the left and closed his wings and dropped toward the ground like a bullet and at the last moment snapped his wings open and quickly swopped back up into the sky to play with the wind again. Nonny was so surprised that he laughed out loud and started clapping for the playful performance. Schroeder played for a few more minutes, then circled around to land on Nonny’s outstretched arm. “Wow!” Nonny exclaimed; “That was beautiful Schroeder! I’ll bet that was fun”. as he smiled broadly and petted Schroeder’s head. Schroeder stood up tall and looked proud of himself. Nonny said “I guess you’re not such a silly bird after all”.

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Schroeder Fools Man Washing Car bout a week later Nonny rode his bike A to the bottom of the park with Schroeder on the handlebars. This was a large flat area where they held community picnics; it had a stream flowing next to it and a playground at one end. On weekends you would often find someone washing their car next to the stream. Nonny rode his bike past a man sudsing up his car getting ready to wash it. This was much too interesting for Schroeder to pass up. He flapped up in the air and flew over to see what the man was doing. When the man saw a crow landing in his car roof he jumped and laughed out loud. Schroeder cocked his head and hopped over to see what the suds might taste like. He pecked at them then stuck out his tongue and shook his head; “Waaark” he said. Nonny rode up and said “I don’t think he likes your soap Mr.”

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The man laughed and laughed, “Is this your crow?” “Yeah. He likes to watch people do stuff ”. Nonny said. “Maybe he’ll like this”. the man said as he pulled out his car keys and jangled them out for Schroeder to see. He did catch Schroeder’s attention. Anything shiny and things that jingle were very interesting to Schroeder. He hopped over toward the man. Nonny warned, “That’s not a good idea Mr.” The man laughed and before Nonny could stop him he tossed the keys in the center of the roof to let the crow play with them. When it comes to shiny things, Schroeder’s idea of property is much different than a man who owns a car. Schroeder saw the keys as a gift and promptly picked them up in his beak and flew off with them. “Hey Kid! Your crow stole my keys!” Nonny just shook his head and said, “I warned you not to give him your keys”. Nonny said. “Now how am I supposed to drive my Car!?” the man shouted. “I Can get them for you Mr. Just give me a few minutes”. By now Schroeder was up in a tree about 200 feet away playing with his shiny new toy.

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onny rode his bike to the tree and N stood up and held his arm out hoping his crow would fly down and land on it. Schroeder ignored him. He was holding the key ring in his beak while shaking his head to make them jingle and having too much fun to obey. So Nonny thought he might distract Schroeder’s attention by tossing up little sticks. Hoping his crow would drop the keys trying to catch the sticks. That didn’t work either; Schroeder just put the keys on the branch with his foot on them and proceeded to catch each stick in his beak.

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After a few minutes of this Nonny got mad. He picked up a BIG stick and through it straight at him. Schroeder saw the stick coming at him, squawked and jumped up in the air to keep from getting hit and dropped the car keys. Finally! Nonny picked the keys up and rode back to where the man was waiting. Since Nonny had his new toy Schroeder flew down and landed on his shoulder and rode back to the car with him. Nonny apologized to the man and said “You can’t trust a crow with your keys Mr.” The man laughed again and said “You’re right kid. I won’t do it again. Thanks for bringing them back”. As they left to continue riding through the park Nonny said “I guess I’ll have to get you some keys of your own. How would you like that Schroeder?” Schroeder jumped back on the handlebars and said “Caaw Caaw”, loudly. “I’ll take that as a Yes”. said Nonny.

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“Shiny Things” Hiding Place rows certainly do like shiny things and C they will even collect the ones that really catch their eye. If something is brightly colored, shiny or looks different in an interesting way a crow will just grab it and take it to their hiding place. One day Nonny noticed that Schroeder was spending a lot of time on the next door neighbor’s roof and especially in his rain gutter. He didn’t think much of it at the time but a few weeks later they had a heavy downpour of rain and the neighbor’s gutter backed up and the water spilled out over the edge of the gutter. The next day their very old neighbor, Mr. Bing, put his ladder up and asked Nonny to go up and see what was blocking the down spout. Nonny liked to climb things so he was happy to help. When he got to the top of the ladder Schroeder showed up, of course, and hopped over and squawked at Nonny. Nonny looked down into the rain gutter and saw what was blocking it and laughed. “Oh! Now I see why you’ve been spending time over here you silly bird”.

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bout three feet of the gutter was filled with A shiny things! There were hair barrettes, bright plastic parts of broken toys, earrings, keys, bottle caps, fingernail clippers, a flattened watch that had been run over, pens, pencils, buttons, coins, pieces of broken colored glass, a fork, paper clips, a polished black pebble with a white stripe running through it, a baby’s pacifier nipple, a pair of glasses, and even a piece of gold lamé curtain twine. “Schroeder! I see you have been very busy! How long have you been stashing stuff up here anyway?” Schroeder just looked down onny climbed down the ladder, apologized N at all his treasures and said “Waaarrrkk.” to Mr. Bing and asked for a bucket then climbed back up to the gutter and started filling it up. While he was dropping the little trinkets in the bucket Schroeder was hopping back and forth from Nonny’s shoulder and the roof making little chattering noises showing his disapproval over the situation. “Don’t worry Schroeder, I’ll let you keep all this stuff, but we’ll have to find a better place for it all”. Nonny built a shelf near Schroeder’s cage and dumped all the shiny things in it. Schroeder immediately flew over and picked up each piece and placed it back on the shelf like he was taking inventory, making sure Nonny hadn’t cheated him. “Don’t worry, it’s all there! Just make sure it stays there! You silly bird”.

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Schroeder Teasing Kitten Stal king Schroeder hile Schroeder often got into mischief W it was usually because of his curious nature. He just had to be part of what was going on around him and, of course there was his attraction to anything shiny. But there were times that he was also playful and even had a sense of humor. Nonny was always surprised when his beloved pet displayed emotions that were quite unexpected. Beside their garage Nonny’s dad built a small fishpond with a little brook and waterfall feeding into it.

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One day Schroeder was pecking at little bugs in the stream minding his own business when he caught the eye of Nonny’s sister’s little kitten. The kitten decided to practice his hunting skills and from the bushes near the pond he started stalking Schroeder. He crept through the bushes, keeping in the shadows and moving ever so carefully toward his prey. Schroeder was busy jabbing at water bugs with his beak when soon he noticed the kitten but didn’t let on that he was aware of being stalked.


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The kitten was about half the size of Schroeder and wasn’t much of a real threat, so Schroeder kept an eye on it while pretending to be interested in the stream. He even turned his back on the baby hunter. The Kitten kept low to the ground and inched his way out of the bushes and toward the stream where his unsuspecting prey was playing. Closer and closer he crept, holding perfectly still so as not to be noticed. All the while Schroeder had one eye looking over his shoulder. Finally, just before the kitten was ready to strike, Schroeder swung around, spread his wings out wide and leaped up in the air and CAAWED out loud. The kitten was so frightened he fell over backwards with his eyes opened wide in panic and ran through the bushes and around the house next door. Schroeder was quite pleased with himself as he watched the kitten scurry away, then went back to the little stream and continued hunting water bugs.

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Schroeder Teases Roy’s Dog

cross the valley behind Nonny’s house A and on the other side of the street lived his good friend Roy. Roy’s family owned a watch dog, Rocky, who was really mean. Nonny never went in their yard unless Roy was with him or he would get chased. One day Roy asked Nonny to come over to play catch in their yard. It was a large lot on the side of a sloping hill with a hedgerow at the bottom before the street. They started playing ball and in a few minutes’ time Schroeder showed up and watched them throw the ball back and forth for a while. Schroeder got bored and flew up to the top of the yard where there was a flower garden and started looking for bugs or worms. He was pecking around for a few minutes when Roy’s mom let the dog out. Rocky didn’t see Schroeder at first but when he hopped out from behind a bush the dog’s ears perked up and he started to growl. Rocky ran over toward Schroeder barking. Schroeder flew up in the air and landed behind another bush. When Rocky ran around that bush Schroeder flew behind another. Nonny saw what was happening and was afraid for his crow but he noticed Schroeder wasn’t flying away for safety. He was making a game out of the chase and Rocky was getting madder and madder each time he missed the crow.

inally, when the dog was worked up F into a frenzy, Schroeder hopped over to the top of the slope and looked over his shoulder as Rocky ran after him. When the dog was about 10 feet away from him Schroeder flapped his wings and started to glide down the sloping yard. Rocky was in hot pursuit, barking and snarling. He really wanted to catch this crow. He ran faster and faster kicking up dirt and grass as he chased Schroeder down the hill. Schroeder, coolly, kept just about 2 feet above the ground and about 6 feet ahead of Rocky; looking over his shoulder to make sure the dog was not too close.

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All the way down the length of the yard toward the hedgerow. Just before he reached the hedges Schroeder swooped up in the air and over the hedge. Rocky was so intent on catching that crow he didn’t see the hedge until it was too late. He smashed head-long into the hedge and rolled out the other side onto the street. Schroeder calmly flew up to a tree limb high above the street and started to laugh, a perfect imitation of a human laugh. “Haw haw haw haw! Haw haw haw haw!” while raising his head up and down in a full body-laugh. Nonny was surprised. He never heard Schroeder sound like that before. Roy and Nonny both joined in with the laughing while his dog Rocky picked himself up off the street and huffed his way back to the house.

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Schroeder Teases People Too jumped backwards with a frightened look and took off running away. Schroeder flew after him and battered his head with his wings once or twice, then flew back toward Nonny. The boy continued running down over the hill screaming “Help! Save Me! Save Me!”

ne day Nonny and Schroeder were O over in the wooded part of the park and Schroeder flew on ahead of Nonny past where the little path turned toward another pavilion. Nonny didn’t think much of it; his crow would show up sooner than later. As he continued down the path and rounded the bend, he saw a younger boy acting strange beside the pavilion. He was dodging back and forth with his hands out as if he was trying to catch something. Then Nonny realized what was happening; the boy was trying to catch his crow. Nonny was about to yell at the boy to stop but he decided to watch instead and see how Schroeder would handle this. “It looks like Schroeder is going to have some fun”. Nonny thought. Sure enough, as the boy would lunge toward Schroeder he would hop out of the way and out of reach. Several times Schroeder would fly over top of the boy and land behind him. As the boy turned around Schroeder would hop out of the way again. This went on for a minute or two until Schroeder decided it was time to end. He flew up in the air toward the little boy and Cawed loudly in his face. The boy

onny was laughing hard as he held N out his arm for Schroeder to land on it. Schroeder ruffled his feathers after he landed. “Well it looks like you taught him a lesson he won’t forget”. as he petted Schroeder’s head to calm him down. “You silly bird”.

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Schroeder goes Stealth...

nother time Schroeder showed how sneaky A he could be and fool people without them knowing it. He was sitting on Nonny’s shoulder at the top of set of cement stairs, about 20 feet above the road, across from their house. A young woman was walking up the road away from them. She was dressed nicely and was enjoying her stroll on a beautiful summer’s day. Schroeder watched her for a while then must have decide to have a little flying fun. He lifted off Nonny’s shoulder then glided down toward the road and came up behind the young woman. Nonny’s heart was in his throat as he watched; hoping Schroeder would not do anything to hurt her. He breathed a sigh of relief as Schroeder flew up and did a banking turn in the air and lightly brushed the woman’s hair from behind with his wing then headed back toward Nonny. The woman reached up and smoothed her hair with her hand, as if a breeze had ruffled it; unaware that she had just been visited by a big black crow. Schroeder landed on Nonny’s arm and climbed up to his shoulder as if nothing had happened. “You are a sneaky little devil you silly bird. Nice move! Was that your stealth mode?” Nonny said. Schroeder stood up tall and looked like he was proud of himself.

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Schroeder Amuses Himself Fun with Cars

nce in a while Nonny and his friends O would take the streetcar into the next town to see a movie. On several such occasions Schroeder would show up while they were waiting for the streetcar to come and amuse himself in a most unusual way. To him the cars were as much fun as an amusement park ride. He would wait until the traffic light would change to red and the cars would stop. Then he would hop onto the hood of the first car in line. It would always startle the driver to see a crow land on his hood. Nonny and his friends always got a good laugh at the driver’s reaction. When the traffic light turned green the car would start out, Schroeder would stand on the hood, looking for all the world like a Cadillac hood ornament. While the car accelerated, he spread his wing until the wind lifted him and he would start flying. He would slowly rise over the car then turn and fly back to the stop light and wait for it to turn red again. All the boys would cheer and clap as he landed on Nonny’s shoulder. He repeated this over and over again like a kid on a roller coaster with a hand full of tickets. When the streetcar came Nonny his friends got on it and left Schroeder still having fun scaring and/or amusing drivers. “You sure have one crazy crow!” the boys said laughing.

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was standing on the big brass ball at the top of the pole with his wings spread out and looking for all the world like an eagle. Nonny laughed then held out his arm and whistled to get his attention. Schroeder flapped his wings and swooped down from the flagpole and landed on Nonny’s arm then walked up to his shoulder. “Hi there Mister Eagle!” said Nonny as he started petting Schroeder’s neck below his beak. Schroeder stretched his neck to enjoy the feeling then made his little chattering sound. “Come on Schroeder let’s go home and get something to eat”. Schroeder replied “Waaark”.

hen the movie was over Nonny and W his friends got back on the streetcar to go home. When they got off at their stop all the boys dispersed to go to their own houses. His friend Ron asked; “I wonder, how long do you think Schroeder was riding the cars at the stoplight?” Nonny laughed and said; “Probably not too long. But I’ll bet he found some other way to amuse himself. He might be around here somewhere”. As they walked past the park fair grounds Ron looked over Nonny’s shoulder and started laughing. “What’s so funny?” Nonny asked. Ron pointed toward the flagpole on the fair grounds. Sure enough, Schroeder

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Learning Words and Express Himself

ne day Nonny and some of his friends O were playing an impromptu game of baseball down in the back yard in sight of Schroeder’s cage. After they were done and Nonny returned to the house. As he walked in his mother was laughing. When he asked her, what was so funny she told him while they were playing, she heard someone shout out “Play Ball!” several times. She went into Nonny’s room to see who was shouting and was surprised to hear Schroeder sounding like one of the kids saying, “Play Ball, Play Ball!”.

lthough he never displayed his A command of the English language to Nonny directly, Nonny’s dad said he heard Schroeder say his own name in a somewhat gravelly voice. Schroeder did, however, display the sound of his emotions. Often when he was sitting on Nonny’s shoulder Nonny would reach up and stroke Schroeder neck feathers. Schroeder would close his eyes and raise up to enjoy the feeling of being petted and make soft guttural sounds. If you can imagine a crow’s version of purring like a cat, that would be it. When he wanted to appear intimidating, he would ruffle up his feathers, slightly spread and lower his wings, raise his eye nictating membranes (a bluish, transparent film over his eye), and use a deeper guttural sound almost like a dog growling. This was a warning he was annoyed. His curiosity stance was the most amusing. When he wanted to inspect something or understand what someone was doing, he would squat down low and cock his head to one side and make little chattering sounds. Almost like he was asking “What’s going on here?” or “I never saw one of those; what is it?”.

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An Unexpected Experience sing his curiosity, it was easy to play U tricks on Schroeder. He just couldn’t resist his need to inspect. One evening most of the family and Schroeder were in the kitchen. Nonny’s dad was eating the last pickle from a jar and wondered if Schroeder would like the taste. Since they were all gone, he took the jar lid, placed it on the floor and poured a little of the juice into it. Of course, as soon as Schroeder saw the lid on the floor, he had to inspect it. He dropped down from the chair back where he was perched and landed beside the lid. He waddled over to the lid, cocked his head and decided

to take a drink. What happened next surprised everyone! As soon as he tasted the pickle juice his whole body slumped, his nictitating membranes raised over his eyes, his wings spread out and dropped to the floor, he sat back on his tail and made a low, gargling sound. When he tried to walk, he fell to one side, picked himself up and tried to walk again. His head was wobbling and he had trouble staying upright. Nonny’s eyes flashed open with concern. Was pickle juice poison to crows? What was happening to him?

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Everyone was wondering the same thing; then Nonny’s dad started to laugh and cried out: “Schroeder is DRUNK!” They all realized that must be it and everyone started laughing. Crows (or birds in general) have very high metabolism rates. Their heart rate is about twice that of humans so when they drink something that can make them drunk it happens fast. Schroeder was oblivious to the roar of laughter and waddled back to the lid and took another drink and started the whole process over again. Schroeder must have said to himself:

“This stuff is good! I want more” and he kept going back to the lid, Nonny was still worried that, even though Schroeder liked the pickle juice, too much of it wouldn’t be good for him. He grabbed Schroeder before he could drink anymore and put the pickle jar in the garbage. Everyone was still laughing but agreed it was time for Schroeder to sleep it off. Nonny put him in his cage; he wasn’t sure his crow could sit on his perch in the room without falling off in his inebriated state. “I think you’ve had enough to drink Schroeder; it’s time for bed you silly bird”. Schroeder said “waaa, hiccup, aark”

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ost nights Schroeder slept in Nonny’s M bedroom on his perch by the window. There was no need for an alarm clock. In the mornings when the sun rose Schroeder would hop on Nonny’s bed, hop or walk up the blanket to Nonny’s chest and squawk. softly while flapping his wings and opening his mouth, just like a baby bird. Nonny would wake up and greet him “Good

morning Schroeder. I guess you’re hungry. Okay I’ll get up and get you something”. He would go to the kitchen and get him something to put in his cup on the perch. Sometimes Schroeder would follow and squawk softly from the back of a chair while Nonny got food out of the fridge. Then Nonny would go get dressed and get his own breakfast.

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Schroeder Learns a Lesson ne morning Nonny was so sound asleep O he didn’t hear Schroeder’s squawk as he sat on Nonny’s chest. Schroeder squawked a little louder; Nonny still didn’t wake. Schroeder was desperate so he cawed loudly “Caaaw!” then bit Nonny’s shoulder. to make sure he would wake up. Nonny woke immediately and in a purely reflex action, swatted at Schroeder with the back of his hand before he could think. POW! Schroeder, only weighing about a pound, rolled backward from the blow. He rolled the full length of the bed, bounced off the dresser on the other side of the room

and fell in a heap on the floor beneath his perch. Nonny was immediately sorry when he realized what he had done and went to check on him. Schroeder sat there a moment wobbling then shook his head and looked up at Nonny and said “waaaak?” Nonny picked him up and put him up to his cheek and said “I’m sorry little guy. But you shouldn’t wake me up that way.” He looked Schroeder over and he seemed to be okay considering the ordeal. So he took Schroeder into the kitchen and got him some breakfast. Schroeder never bit Nonny again! CcCcCcCc

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Nonny Learns a Lesson

onny had a chance to go to a High N School football game. The field was about four miles from where they lived. He thought Schroeder might have some fun there. Nonny envisioned all the players in a huddle with their heads together and Schroeder flying down to see what they were up to. He thought all the people in the stands would be roaring with laughter. He thought maybe some players would try to catch that crow and Schroeder would have them running in circles flying just out of their reach. I guess Nonny didn’t think much beyond his fantasies; he didn’t think of all the things that might go wrong or that his crow might get hurt in the process. As fate would have it neither of those

things would happen. When Nonny let Schroeder out of the car. He flew off into the night. Nonny wasn’t sure if his crow was frightened by the noise of the throng of people or if the very bright lights confused him. Either way he was gone. All during the game Nonny kept hoping he would show up; but he didn’t. When the game was over Nonny walked around the neighborhood streets calling out “Schroeder… Schroeder!” But he didn’t come. Nonny’s dad said they had to go home. “Schroeder will probably find his way home when the sun comes up tomorrow. You’ll see”, he said. Nonny wasn’t so sure; Schroeder had never been on his own his whole life.

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what might have happened to his crow and sometimes had tears in his eyes while riding his bike on his search. He thought “Maybe he’s flying back home this very minute and will be home soon”. With that in mind Nonny rode back home to see if Schroeder had come home while he was searching. “I’ll just go home and wait for him to show up like dad said”. So he went home to see but Schroeder wasn’t there. As the sun set Schroeder had still not come home. Nonny started to cry before he went to bed, so his dad said “Schroeder will be okay. We’ll go back to the football field tomorrow morning and look for him there. I’m sure he’s found plenty of mischief to get in over there”. That made Nonny feel better.

ey say birds have a good sense of Th direction; after all some birds fly thousands of miles during migration. But crows don’t migrate much; they hang around most of the winter. So maybe Schroeder hasn’t learned that ‘good-sense-of-direction’ since he never had to worry about it; he and Nonny usually stayed within about half a mile from home. The next morning Nonny got up early, grabbed a quick breakfast and started looking for and calling for his crow. He rode his bike all over the neighborhood; stopping here and there to call out “Schroeder… Schroeder!” He rode all through the park and around the schoolhouse but no sign of Schroeder. Nonny was really worried about

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e second morning they drove to the Th football field and started their search. They looked through the fence at the field but there was no sign of Schroeder. They started out through the surrounding neighborhood calling as they went. “Schroeder… Schroeder!” Nonny looked up in each tree he passed under to make sure he wasn’t there, but still, no Schroeder. Finally, Nonny heard a distant but very weak call from Schroeder. The sound wasn’t the mature Caw he was expecting; instead, it sounded more like a young fledging crow, like when he was a baby. Nonny was ecstatic! He ran toward the sound hoping it was Schroeder. And instead of flying toward Nonny his crow was waddling up the sidewalk flailing his wings with his mouth open and crying for food. Nonny’s heart sank when he saw Schroeder so defenseless and looking alone and abandoned.

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onny got down on his knees and N Schroeder rushed into his open arms still crying for food. “Oh Schroeder; I’m so sorry I left you alone”. He pulled a few crackers out of his pocket and let Schroeder gobble them down. “Let’s get you home and find you something better to eat”. Nonny picked Schroeder up and cradled in his arms on the way back to the car. The lesson Nonny learned that day was that he had a deep responsibility to see that his crow was protected. He hadn’t realized that before. When he brought Schroeder home, he thought it was about having fun, having a different pet than anyone else. But since he took the young crow out of his natural environment Nonny had denied him the knowledge of how to take care of himself. That knowledge would have been taught him if he had stayed with his crow family.

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aving a pet; whether it’s a dog, a cat, H a horse, or a crow; is a commitment to another living being. They have feelings, just like you, and you are responsible to see that they are cared for. Nonny had the pleasure of having Schroeder as his companion and buddy for a few years. As any child will learn, things and circumstances do change, and the day came when Nonny’s family had to move. Nonny had to make the painful decision that he could no longer keep Schroeder in the family’s new location. Luckily his dad had a friend that lived in

the country who already had pet crows and they offered to give Schroeder a new home. As painful as it was, Nonny and his dad took Schroeder there and said goodbye. He never forgot the wonderful memories that he had with his pet crow. Schroeder’s antics and personality gave Nonny experiences he never would have had with a “normal” pet. To this day, when ever he hears or sees a crow, all those fond memories come flooding back to make him smile and tug at his heart. CcCcCcCc

Schroeder

Another being; another life by circumstance and wing did alight upon my shoulder, within my heart to be my friend, to play his part

Duty, love, brotherhood, and sharing responsibility, caring, and knowing innocence should reside in freedom with no tether tied

Who would have thought this ebony fowl could fill my life with joy somehow How did he know the lessons he taught me, by whom this fledgling was caught

No clipped wing could bring this and joy to heart and soul of that young boy N.N.

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Profile for Norm Nanstiel

Schroeder & Nonny – A Boy and his Crow  

Based on a true story of a young boy, about ten years old, who finds a fledgling crow that fell out of his nest. The story is told in third...

Schroeder & Nonny – A Boy and his Crow  

Based on a true story of a young boy, about ten years old, who finds a fledgling crow that fell out of his nest. The story is told in third...

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