Red Dirt Farm and Studio

Living a creative life artist farmer dreamer

Cornelius and his wife Clementine, their children Camille and Clovis along with Uncle Claude can be rather raucous, to say the least.


They live within the Enchanted forest.




Just under the canopy of the trees in a clearing beyond the pond and garden, I toss out stale bread, rolls, biscuits for their enjoyment.

The above photos were taken back in the summer while they were enjoying a loaf of bread.

 They regularly harass the Red Tailed Hawk family that lives across the road in the Pine clearing.

 If Mr. or Mrs. Hawk should venture into the no-fly zone, which includes any airspace above Coral Cottage, they will receive a strong-arm escort back to their own Pine stand as seen in the photo below.

hawk and crows

They also have loud and animated screaming competitions with the Blue Jay tribe, which I swear can be heard throughout the entire county.

Cornelius is always the first to announce his presence, and demand his meal be served.  However he always remains on the perimeter of the open yard, never venturing near the house.

 Until the other day.

I missed their regular feeding for several days, because we had rain.

Cornelius was so annoyed by my lack of attention, that he flew up into the poplar tree outside the kitchen door and loudly demanded I conform to his wishes.

Obviously Cornelius, has me well-trained.  As I studied my shopping list the other day,

I thought to myself – good grief I’m shopping for a crow!



In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life –  Uncle Billy had a pet bird (raven) named Jimmy.

Director Frank Capra’s trademark was Jimmy the Raven, this bird appeared in all Capra movies after 1938.

This same raven landed on the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

I leave you with a little more information about Jimmy the Raven.

See you later, Bye!


jimmy the raven

Here is a photo of Jimmy on the set of It’s a wonderful Life.

Jimmy belonged to Hollywood animal trainer Curley Twiford, who found the bird in a nest in the Mojave Desert in 1934. Twiford trained Jimmy to do an assortment of tricks, such as typing, opening letters, and even riding a tiny motorcycle: things that would make him appealing to use in films. Jimmy could understand several hundred words, though only around 50 were what Twiford called “useful”. It took Jimmy a week to learn a new useful word—two weeks if it had 2 syllables.  Twiford said that Jimmy could perform any task that an 8-year-old child could (see bird intelligence).

His human co-stars were complimentary of the bird. “When they call Jimmy, we both answer,” remarked Jimmy Stewart on the set of It’s a Wonderful Life, noting that the raven “is the smartest actor on the set” requiring fewer re-takes than his human counterparts.

As he became more popular with the studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had him insured for $10,000.  Lloyd’s of London wrote a policy to cover Jimmy’s $500 a week fee as well as Curley Twiford’s $200 handler fee, in the event Jimmy forgot any of the words he would need on the set.  Twiford credited these fees with keeping him solvent during World War 2.  At one point, Jimmy had 21 stand-ins, 15 of which were female, who would fill in for him when the scene did not require any tricks or movement.

Jimmy received a Red Cross gold medal in acknowledgement of 200 hours spent entertaining veterans after the war, and his footprints were enshrined in cement at a large Los Angeles pet store, alongside Lassie and other Hollywood animal stars.

His last credited film was 3 Ring Circus in 1954, after which little is known about him. Though Curley Twiford said Jimmy would “probably live to be 150” years old, which the papers re-printed, in reality ravens seldom live more than 30 years in captivity. Twiford died in 1956 at the age of 60.


13 thoughts on “crackers for cornelius

  1. You’re adorable, Kim, shopping for Cornelius. Crows and ravens are wonderful birds, and I’m relieved to be seeing them again.


    1. Ha Ha Ha adorable – another word for a nut! 🙂 Love me some black birds.


  2. Kathi says:

    I love that you go shopping for a crow!


    1. Hi Kathi – all creatures big and small… 🙂


  3. Debra says:

    Oh I love this post! Crows and ravens are two of my favorite birds. Loved reading the trivia about Jimmy too. Cornelius is one lucky crow to have you shopping for him!
    Merry Christmas Kim!!!


    1. Merry Christmas to you, Debra. I just came in from giving the gang their morning crackers. Such a simple thing, and yet it makes me pretty darn happy.


  4. says:

    Tsk, tsk. Shopping for a crow. Nothing wrong with you! How long you been orbiting that same Crooked Moon I orbit?


  5. Crooked moons and crooked little ladies we are! I bought Christmas cookies for the crow.


  6. kwgaynor says:

    Your post delighted me when I saw it, and it reminded me of a quote that I love: Crows are my second love”, she continued, her voice wavering. “Who knows why we choose to study the things we do? How could I have known as a young girl that my life’s work would be all around me, would be these bright, inquisitive creatures, that I would delight in them and find them everywhere, ready to challenge and entertain me? It is an old saying that we should work at what we love, but I loved crows and ravens long before I possessed any clear notion of work. On the whole, I have not worked a day in my life, because the crows and ravens, learning about them, learning from them, has been a daily joy. I wish every person in this room the pleasure of finding what interests them. It is the best and most valuable wish one person can have for another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somehow I missed your comment, Kathy. So sorry, it is indeed a lovely wish – finding your interest and being able to learn and love from it every day. Thanks for stopping by. Best, Ki,


  7. P.E.A.C.E. says:

    I love this post so much! LOVE your choices of names, and I sure laughed out loud at the grocery list. Great pics too. I hope you’ve seen the PBS Nature episode called ‘A Murder of Crows’! They even have different dialects whether they’re conversing amongst their nearest and dearest, or when they’re communicating with the larger population (or scolding late servants!). 🙂


    1. Hey Gina – I have not seen that PBS special – I must seek that out. It sounds like something I would enjoy watching. I purchased a book a few years ago about ravens – why I haven’t read it yet is a mystery. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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