It’s not uncommon for classrooms to have animal visitors, from someone’s adorable dog to reptiles that can provide a science lesson or two. It’s less common for a class to be befriended by a foul-mouthed crow—yet here we are.
According to OregonLive.com, a crow became the latest transfer student to Allen Dale Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, in November. The bird seemingly materialized out of nowhere and took a particular interest in a fifth-grade class, which marveled at its vocabulary. The bird can utter phrases like “What’s up?” and “I’m fine.”
You can hear an articulating raven (also from the Corvus genus) below:
As it turned out, the bird had a name—Cosmo—and an adoptive home in nearby Williams, where it resided on a farm owned by animal rescuer JaNeal Shattuck. According to OregonLive.com, "While the family was gone for Thanksgiving, they said a neighbor captured the bird and took him to a local animal sanctuary. The sanctuary, not realizing he was habituated to humans, released him, likely in Grants Pass."
The avian academic charmed the children but was not without some behavioral issues—namely, that it cussed like dialogue had been written for it by Quentin Tarantino.
The bird’s presence was enough of a distraction that school officials needed it removed, which eventually fell to a wildlife officer with the Oregon State Police. Cosmo eluded attempts at capture before Shattuck was notified of Cosmo’s location. He was lured away and back to his farm environment by the promise of sardines.
Crows are renowned for their intellect, able to identify human faces and even craft hook-like tools, among other skills. Like parrots, they can mimic human speech using their syrinx (vocal organ) but aren’t as chatty since they’re not typically kept as pets. Cosmo is one of the more loquacious exceptions.