Birding/crow question

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Question
QUESTION: Mr Lederer,
A week ago you said the missing feathers on a crow's leg may be due to genetic or developmental problems or damaged follicles. I know you can't say for sure but I'm wondering if any of these things could cause a shorter life span. I don't feel comfortable going to a vet.

ps: If you have any suggestions for "enrichment" (entertainment), they'd be much appreciated. He hasn't been interested in any of the many toys I've purchased for him.

thanks!

ANSWER: I have no idea whether the feather loss would be connected to any other conditions that might lead to a shorter life span. I can't suggest anything for entertainment as I am not an expert in caged birds, nor do I approve of birds being caged, although I do understand that birds that cannot make it in the wild might need to be caged.
I really think a vet is your best bet.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Mr Lederer,
Thank you. I agree that birds should not be caged; it is cruel. I'm writing back to let you know that this bird is free, roaming about the house wherever he likes, 95% of the time. Caged only when there is no adult in the house so he doesn't injure himself.

Answer
Here's my opinion. When a bird is kept in captivity, for whatever reason, he/she is kept out of the gene pool. He/she is as good as dead because he/she cannot reproduce. I would rather allow a partially injured bird loose into the wild to fend for itself because it has at least a minimal chance of reproducing. In other words, let nature take its course. Sounds cruel but that's the way of nature every day.

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Roger Lederer

Expertise

Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.

Experience

Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of Ornithology.com . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

Education/Credentials
PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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