My Magical Crow

DSCN09861 (600 x 491) As I was preparing breakfast for Merlina the crow this morning I stopped to think about how privileged I am to be responsible for such a beautiful wild bird. Merlina the hooded crow can’t look after herself as she has only one wing and a dodgy leg. I have no idea how she got those injuries but anyway, she is with us now in a home-made aviary and seems content enough with her lot.

She has a number of different caws. One is a low sound of between three and five caws if I pass her and say ‘Ciao Merlina.’ Her feathers all stick out and she lowers her head when she does this. There is a caw for when I go out of the gate with the dogs and a different one when we leave in the car. A shrieking cry brings the dogs hurtling over to see what’s up. It’s usually something unfamiliar that causes her to make this alarm call.

To me she is really a magical creature and of course there are many myths and legends associated with crows and ravens. I have written a longer piece about Merlina if you would like to read it here.

About Pets in Italy

Fiona TankardBenvenuti!  My name is Fiona Tankard , I’m a writer and I have lived in Italy, first in Umbria and now Tuscany, since 1994 with my husband and a variety of pets. Over the years we have had cats, dogs, geese, a crow, fish, two pigeons and alpacas.

I started this blog to help homeless animals in Italy and to help non Italian pet owners owners and visitors too. I know that it can sometimes be hard being an animal lover in Italy. You can be thought of as ‘un po’ eccentrica’ as my last neighbour dubbed me, and as for having animals in the house – well, say no more!

My husband Alan and I moved to Italy with our original pets, travelling in the back of our ancient Lada estate bought especially for the trip. The dogs Kelly and Emma, plus cats Harley, Widget and Birkana went in the back and we set off with trepidation on a journey that had many highs and some lows (like almost losing the cat in a mnotorway service station carpark!) We slept in two tents at Chamonix, one for Alan and the dogs and one for me and the cats.

Since we moved here we have seen many of our pets come and, sadly, go. The most recent loss was of our lovely little dog Maia, who died of canine lymphoma. Our current pet family comprises one male cat – Jimmy, three dogs – labrador ZsaZsa, Internet rescue English setter Gassie, Internet rescue dog Mana’, rescue pigeon Lulu  and five alpacas – Nicola, Emilia, Champagne , Brunello and Dolcetto.

I add to this site regularly, posting blogs, resources, appeals, links and my own articles and photos. Please feel free to comment and get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions and I’ll be happy to help if I can. I am particularly keen to hear about any charities or appeals for animals in Italy that you could send me so I can post them on the site.You can email me on