IT is not often you get to talk to the “pet” of Pet of the Week, but when Rocky came to the attention of our regular column, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Pat Watson, of Durham, described Rocky as a “tinker” who “can turn the taps on for his own bath and talk down the telephone”, and in The Northern Echo’s Pet of the Week Q&A, he told us: “Rocky is very clever and can work out many problems. He knocks on the bedroom door to wake me up, coming in and then sitting on the bed or chair. He also walks up to you, pecking you, then running away just out of reach.
“He dances and makes different noises, for example when hungry, happy, half asleep or when laughing at people.”
Rocky is 11-and-a-half years old and was rescued by Mr Watson when he was only days old.
He said: “I rescued him from the side of the road, and from the clutches of a cat, just outside of Durham City. He was far too young to be out of his nest, he had no feathers and was in obvious distress, he was just about alive.
“The RSPCA weren’t able to take him, so I took him in and it took me three weeks of constant attention to save his life. After some time he got stronger and grew, and eventually I let him go free in the field at the back of my house.
“Two days later, my neighbour telephoned to say, ‘that crow is at your front door, shouting and waking the whole street up’. I opened the door and there he was sitting on the doorstep, then he just jumped up on to my hand and was keen to come inside. I don’t know how he found the right house. He’s been here ever since, he’s a total character.”
Rocky the crow
Mr Watson has looked after and rescued many birds over the past 30 years and said Rocky is by far the most intelligent bird he has encountered. He said: “To me he is way more intelligent than a dog or a parrot.”
Rocky enjoys many home comforts. He will only eat lean mince and will not touch any mince that has a high fat content, above five per cent. He enjoys chicken, meal worms, scrambled egg, tuna, cheese, plain beans and always looks for toast on the morning.
Mr Watson said: “He can run his own bath, turning the taps, and he is the first bird I have ever seen that can tie and undo knots. He does not like the colour yellow or the colours black and white combined. He will play hide and seek in the house making a laughing sound when you see him and sometimes gives your arm a peck just before hopping out of the way, just for a laugh, wanting to play.
“Each day I am truly amazed by him and what he does, he never fails to surprise me with how clever he really is, he is very affectionate just loving the close attention. You can see him actually watching something or a problem, tilting his head and working the solution out in his head on what to do next.”
As for the phone call, apparently Rocky doesn’t always talk to complete strangers.