Researched by Richard Palmer - Transcribed by Ron Taylor from: Bolivar Breeze - Thursday, September 25, 1902

A Crow That Talks

Samuel Seager of Bolivar Has One That Has a Vocabulary

of More Than Twenty Words! 

Samuel Seager of Wellsville street has a crow that can talk very plainly.  Its vocabulary at present consists of about twenty words but it is adding a new word now and then.  Not only can this crow talk but it mimics the hens, rooster, cats and dogs of the neighborhood.  So well can this crow mimic a cackling hen that a neighbor woman spent fifteen minutes the other day looking for a hen's nest all on account of being deceived by the crow.

The crow's name is Jim and he is about sixteen months old.  His home was in a tree top over on the hill west of Bolivar but a bad boy found it and captured Jim and his little sister and sold them into bondage.  Mr. Seager secured Jim for his little boy Blair and little daughter Hattie to play with and to pet.  Jim after he became acquainted with the Seager family became very tame, did not fly away and was allowed the freedom of the yard and garden.  Last spring when the young corn began to come up he took a great liking for it and pulled it up by the roots and feasted on the fresh young shoots.  This led to his being confined in a wire cage for the summer.

Jim first began to talk last winter.  One day when Mr. Seager went out to feed him he was surprised to hear Jim say, "Hello Sam."  After that he greeted Mr. Seager that way regularly.  The longest sentence Jim has used is "I should say so."  This was in answer to the query: "Do you want your breakfast?"  Some of the other words Jim uses are "Good Morning," "Good Night," "Come Boss," when he hears some one calling the cows and other short expressions.

Jim eats twice a day, morning and evening.  He likes corn, wheat and other cereals pretty well but best of all he he likes bread and milk.  His greatest weakness is to have his head scratched.  When Mr. Seager or one of his children say to him: "Jim do you want your head scratched," he flies to the wire netting, perches on it and sticks his head out through a mesh and holds it steadily for a minute or until it is thoroughly scratched.  He takes a bath every day in a pail of water, that is except  when his new feathers are coming on, then he don't seem to care for a daily plunge in the pail.

Jim is shy of strangers and won't talk when a crowd gathers about his cage.  It took him a long time to get used to Mrs. Seager but he isn't afraid of her any more and will talk to her almost as freely as to Mr. Seager.

Jim gets lots of amusement out of a tomato can.  He boxes it about his cage and scolds it with the same degree of interest that a clucking hen does a wayward chick that wanders away from the brood.  Perhaps that is what Jim is trying to imitate.  Some days he makes as much noise as a group of children playing tag, and so well does he imitate each child's voice that passersby looking toward his cage in the Seager garden, wonder where the children are.  He often wrestles for days with a new expression before he masters it and jabbers to him self by the hour.  He has a special aversion to black, an umbrella, a black dress or a shiny pair of shoes will cause him to scold with all his might.

You have, of course, read that some crows talk after having their tongues split.  No operation has ever been performed on Jim's tongue.  Jim is not original in producing expressions he only repeats those he has heard but he imitates as well as many readers on the stage.

There is an old expression, "as poor as a crow."  Wild crows may be poor but Jim is as fat as butter.