THE crow that landed on a man’s shoulder outside the Scotch House pub in Bushmills and stole his cigarette -as exclusively featured in last month’s Times - was reared by Graham Tee who lives in one of the recently beautifully restored Kiln buildings at Bonner Mill on Bridge Street, beside the Salmon Station.
Graham found the young bird lying helpless on the ground and decided to rear the bird which he named Russell after the actor, Russell Crowe!
Eventually and gradually Russell was able to fly and would go off for hours but always return for food and companionship.
On several occasions he would bring back his newly acquired lady friend but that relationship does not seem to have lasted too long as the female crow has not been back with him for some time!
Graham had to go over to England for a week in June, by which time Russell was reasonably independent but still returned for his dinner (and often breakfast) and to say hello to Graham, who had asked his neighbour to leave food out for Russell.
Russell, who was presumably confused as to why Graham was never at home for that one week, decided to fly down to The Scotch House pub in Bushmills, maybe for companionship rather than a pint.
He landed on the shoulder of local man Geoffrey McKay, who was out having a smoke and Russell, who does not approve of cigarettes, promptly snatched the cigarette out of Geoffrey’s mouth and chucked it on the ground.
As Graham had not been at home to feed Russell, Russell decided to fly off to a local fish and chip shop for a take out, where customers were sympathetic and shared their chips with him.
It’s understood he still goes back there for something to eat even though Graham has been back from England for some time now.
Almost every morning Russell returns to the Kiln houses at the Mill and taps with his beak on the bedroom window of Graham’s neighbour, at around 5am.
If the neighbour does not at first respond to the tapping on the window, Russell would then fly to the other side of the building and would start to tap on the other window of the neighbour’s window until such time as the neighbour would get up and open the window and have a chat!
Russell has become a familiar sight around Bushmills. He will sit on anyone’s shoulder but doesn’t like anyone pointing a finger at him: he takes it as a threat and could well bite the finger!
This was Russell’s first marching season and on the Twelfth Russell happily sat on Graham’s shoulder and watched the bands march past, seemingly unperturbed by the flutes and drums.