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Gunshots frighten off pet raven

This photo provided by Morgan Erickson-Davis shows Mose, a pet raven, in the Stony Creek Campground west of Philipsburg, Mont. Mose disappeared Oct. 28. (Associated Press)
This photo provided by Morgan Erickson-Davis shows Mose, a pet raven, in the Stony Creek Campground west of Philipsburg, Mont. Mose disappeared Oct. 28. (Associated Press)

Montana woman raised him from chick

MISSOULA – He’s anything but the common raven, but now he’s gone missing, and that makes this case all the more curious.

Unlike the rest of the birds in the Rock Creek area where he was lost, this young raven was raised since infancy in a Grant Creek home. Although he hasn’t been seen in two weeks, his owner suspects he will most likely seek out a kind human hand somewhere nearby to secure some grub and shelter.

So if a raven happens to land on your head, all Morgan Erickson-Davis asks you to do is to remain calm and get a hold of her as quickly as you can.

Mose – an intelligent 6-month-old raven that has developed a fondness for landing on heads – was rescued as a chick and rehabilitated early this summer by Erickson-Davis. But Mose disappeared Oct. 28 after gunshots spooked him during a camping trip.

“Miss him terribly,” says one of the many posters Mose’s worried caretaker has papered the Rock Creek and Philipsburg areas with since his disappearance. The “Lost Crow!” poster has garnered a fair amount of attention, but no one has reported even a Mose sighting in the days he’s been missing.

“I’ve brought him camping before; he usually stays close by. I didn’t realize it was hunting season. I should have just turned around when I saw the hunters camping there,” Erickson-Davis said.

Mose flew away from Erickson-Davis and her dog, Xiao-bai, during a camping trip to Stony Creek campground. The noise of hunters near camp sighting in their guns spooked Mose.

Erickson-Davis wasn’t prepared for how enthralled and attached she’d become when she rescued the little raven last spring. She found the 2-week-old Mose pushed from his nest near the Clark Fork River on a trail in May. His legs were splayed and malformed, and he’d been abandoned. Erickson-Davis took Mose to her Grant Creek home and fixed his legs with splints. Within a couple weeks, his legs were straight and he’d learned to fly.

Erickson-Davis was licensed in animal rehabilitation in her home state of Minnesota. People who find injured birds should turn them over to licensed rehabilitators rather than keep them as pets, which is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Erickson-Davis figured Mose, like most birds she’s cared for in the past, would slowly wean himself from her care and finally take off for good to join other ravens in Missoula. He was free to go anytime, but he never left.

“He loves to be petted. If I scratch him a certain way, he loves it,” she said.

Erickson-Davis remains worried but positive as she continues the search for her missing friend. She checks out her window for him often.

Worst-case scenario, Erickson-Davis said, is that Mose is lost in the wilderness, where he won’t know how to find food and has fallen prey to bigger birds, like eagles and hawks.

Best-case scenario is that he’s already sought out people for food and protection. Also, it’s possible but not probable Mose did what Erickson-Davis suspected all along: joined a flock of ravens and returned to the wild.