This is Merlin, our resident (formerly resident) rook who has (had) been with us since he fell out of the nest in 2008.
He completely ruled the roost, putting the cats and dogs in their place and even having a go at the three peacocks!
I first met Merlin in early May of 2008, he was hopping about at the foot of the turkey oak, a large and venerable tree in the corner of the garden a short distance away from the main rookery in the poplar trees to the north. Although quite well feathered, he was obviously too young to care for himself, so I took the dogs back to the house and returned with a cat carrier to put him in. As I approached, he hopped purposefully towards me, squawking loudly and gaping, showing no fear whatsoever. In fifteen years of living at The Rookery this is the first time this has happened, any other orphan or injured rooks I have spotted have made a quick getaway into the undergrowth, Merlin had other things in mind! His voice in the confines of the house cut the air like a knife, so I quickly fed him some cat food from a teaspoon which he accepted with enthusiasm. At the weekend my son Josh returned and an immediate bond was formed, he took over part of the feeding duties and as soon as Merlin's legs were stronger, he would ride around the farm on Josh's shoulder. He soon outgrew the cat carrier, and a parrot cage was purchased, as much for his safety as for our peace of mind as he is somewhat apt to harass the dogs and cats! We named him Merlin after the book The Return of Merlin by Deepak Chopra. In this book, Merlin's consciousness enters a crow in order to save his apprentice, Melchior. By this act, the bird which previously had a group consciousness as part of a flock becomes an individual with self consciousness, definitely something which applies to our very individual little bird. It turns out I also guessed right about his sex, but I won't embarrass him with the details of how we came to this conclusion! He often makes noises which sound almost like talking, and can imitate dogs barking and cats growling, but he only does this when he thinks he is alone, as soon as someone comes into the room, he squawks, or goes quiet. He obviously regards himself as part of the household and has no fear of people, dogs & cats whom he is quite prepared to peck at. His "people" are really only me and Josh who raised him. The rest of the family, my husband Phil, daughter Holly, partner Huw & grandaughter Lily are tolerated. guests get the fluffed up feathers & warning beak snaps should they come too close! He takes very little notice of the wild rooks despite the clamour and activity taking place so close to us. He is a stickler for routine, enjoying the morning in "His" yew tree and helping me in the stable, lunch at 1 followed by a siesta, & then outside again until it's time for tea. During the winter it was too cold for him to be outside for more than short periods, so most of the day was spent around the house, pulling bits of plaster off the walls, hiding pens under rugs and getting them out again, taking up a vantage point on the kitchen bin from which to pester the cats etc.! In the early evening he joins us in the sitting room to watch TV & play with his toys, which consist of scrumpled bits of paper, pens, lighters, just about anything that hasn't been purchased specifically for him will do! When this has ceased to amuse him (about halfway through Eastenders), He hops onto the sofa & pecks vigorously at my shoulder until I take him back to his cage for his night-night treat of a Krunch-a-Round. He sleeps soundly from when the cover goes on at about 8.30 to the following morning when the household awakes to his demands for breakfast, & the whole palaver starts all over again! He is truly the most demanding "pet" I have ever known & being a hobby farmer I've known quite a few!
Just two short years ago our lives were changed forever by the arrival of Merlin. His mealtimes, his bedtime, his bathtime, his going out and his coming in have ruled my life since that day, now he is gone and I am left pointless and redundant.
During his first summer he was stuck with us, being unable to fly due to damaged flight feathers, but in his second year he grew fine plumage and took to the skies. Daily he swooped through the air above, descending with style and dignity to land with perfect precision on my outstretched arm, the most magical experience one could hope to have. On March 17th the call of the wild came to him, and he left without a backward glance. No more do I hear his raucous shouts from the stable roof, no more the cry of "aargh" every time the phone rings, no more the pecked holes in the plasterwork up and down the staircase, no more the theft of Josh's rizla papers and cat food, to be hidden in the sofa by the morning room window. Nevermore.
But in the midst of all this sorrow I know that he flies high and free, wild as the other wild birds and where he should be. Through him we have made many corvid contacts, Rooks.org, Crows R Us, Corvidaid, Raven Haven, Leics. Rook Rescue, and of course our friends in the north, Mandy and Magic. We have received requests for advice from as far away as the USA and the Czech Republic, we have learnt much about rooks and jackdaws, and hope to continue doing so, and we look to the future generations of rooks we hope to be helping spread their wings and fly. And Merlin says, in the words of Anthony and the Johnsons, "I am a Bird Now". 4/04/10
Whether or not we ever see him again, Merlin is/was a beautiful rook whom we shall remember forever, bye bye Merlin, we love you. (from Josh)