The Telegraph
Friday , November 12 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pet crow’s dawn drill: tea, walk with master

Durgapur, Nov. 11: A Durgapur coal trader is causing quite a flutter on his morning walks — a feathered friend hops and flies along.

Kanishka Mukherjee is accompanied by Koya, a four-month-old female crow.

He has much to crow about. “Not only does my crow take a stroll with me every morning, it also sips tea and has biscuits,” said the 32-year-old, a bachelor who lives with his parents and his eight pet dogs in the steel town’s Link Park area.

Says tea stall owner and neighbour Yudhisthir De, 45: “The crow even takes biscuits from me. It is amazing.”

Koya wasn’t the proverbial bird in hand. “One day this July, I found her on the street outside. Some local children were poking her with sticks but it could not run away. She looked ill and blood was oozing out of its beak. Only days old then, she didn’t have enough feathers and was ugly,” Mukherjee said.

The businessman took the crow to a local vet, who prescribed antibiotics, vitamin tablets and ointments. “Following his advice, I fed the baby crow warm milk and water with a dropper, besides the prescribed medicines. Within four days, her condition started improving. After she recovered, I fed her milk and Cerelac, sometimes even chocolates. She appears fine now.”

Koya wasn’t always welcome. Barks of protests from the eight dogs had greeted her when she was first brought in, but with time, she began to be accepted. “Initially, my dogs had problems adjusting to the crow and frequently barked at her. But now, they have accepted the new addition to the family and even play with her.”

When the trader is out on work, father Kalyan, 60, and mother Manju, 53, look after the crow. “We never feel tired looking after our pets. My wife bathes the dogs and cleans the crow as if they were our children,” Kalyan said.

But while business keeps Mukherjee busy when he is out, Koya ensures he is preoccupied even when he is at home. She sleeps in his bedroom, where a straw-filled basket kept in one corner serves as her nest.

But this Diwali weekend, while everyone celebrated, Koya cowered. “Koya became very scared and nervous because of the noise of firecrackers. She didn’t come out of her basket and ate nothing during the two nights,” Mukherjee said.

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