Rescued crow in Wakefield, Quebec cost couple $2,000


by admin on April 1, 2010

Maarah Souliere and her dad Stephen relax at the kitchen table with Nemo

Maarah Souliere and her dad Stephen relax at the kitchen table with Nemo

Stephen Souliere and Natasha Poirier have breakfast every morning with a crow. The Wakefield, Quebec couple comes downstairs, fixes a bowl of cereal or eggs and chomps away as the crow, whom they named Nemo, joins the feast.

Either from the perch in his cage, or directly from the kitchen table, Nemo gobbles up anything he can get his talons on in the morning.

“He eats everything, from dog food and cat food to fruits and vegetables,” said Souliere, feeding him a walnut.

After feeding, Nemo takes a bath: A messy splash of a party, all on the kitchen table. This reporter even had to move his coffee, to avoid topping his mug with a double-double of feathers and bath water.

After bathing, Nemo might retire to his cage for some rest, or, if it’s warm enough, he’ll head outside for a stroll. He won’t fly away, and hasn’t done so in two years, but that’s because a wounded wing prevents him from re-entering the wild.

Souliere and Poirier came across Nemo near Lac Bernard two years ago, when he was about to become lunch for local cats. His wing had been damaged, likely in an attack, and he couldn’t fly. Poirier wrapped the bird in a sweatshirt and took it home.

Stephen Souliere feeds Nemo some water

Stephen Souliere feeds Nemo some water

She later brought him it to a veterinarian, when the bird’s wound smelled funny and feathers had begun to grow back under the skin. The veterinarian said he could save Nemo, but emergency surgery would cost $1,100. Poirier, a First Nations Algonquin, has a deep-rooted love of animals, and she made a decision.

“Growing up, we always did what we could to help,” she said. “The creator speaks through animals to us.”

After a Poirier’s emotional phone call to Souliere, bawling about how important saving the bird was to her, the two agreed to foot the bill. In the end, everything cost the couple $2,000, but they say it was all worth it.

“We would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Poirier. “In the end we want to open up a wild animal rescue centre.”

They won’t fork out another $100, though, to determine if Nemo is male or female, but Souliere is convinced Nemo is a boy. The couple plans to nurse Nemo back to health and if he shows he can fly, they will let him go. But if not, he’ll likely stay.

The household in Wakefield wouldn’t be all that much busier as a rescue centre, as the family already has three cats, two guinea pigs, several fish tanks and a dog.

“Welcome to our zoo,” said Poirier, welcoming this visitor.

Nemo really has become part of the family, squawking at family members and changing his tone when they walk by. If he doesn’t like something, he will let you know with a quick nip on the finger or a low-pitched squawk and a look that says, “Piss off.”

Nemo’s bath ritual topped the day’s entertainment. When he spotted his water tub, he puffed his feathers like a bloated cat ready to scrap. He squawked as he circled the vessel, staring it down like a gunslinger in a Western movie before plunging in, bobbing up and down, splashing water all over the table. Excited, vocal and jittery, Nemo jumped in and out of the tub, repeating the pattern until he was totally soaked. Then he pooped on the floor.

Be sure to check back on April 2 to see video footage of Nemo eating and bathing as part of the Low Down’s Video Fridays on LDTV.