Tata, considered the world’s oldest crow, passed away gently in the
arms of his caretaker, wildlife rehabilitator, Kristine Flones on Sunday
morning, July 2nd.
Tata gained fame in 2002 when the DEC confiscated him along with
Hohkmah, a red tail hawk, because Kristine didn't have her Federal bird
license. The DEC law says that when Tata left his original family, where
he was legally a pet, he reverted to being wildlife. Since he was blind
with cataracts and couldn’t fly, by DEC law he would then have to be
The case went before a packed courthouse in front of Woodstock Judge
Frank Engel, who was able to secure a release for Tata. After six weeks
of incarceration, Tata was returned to Kristine and Glenn on February
12, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
The case was much publicized in the Woodstock Times and other local
papers with many outraged people writing letters to the editors. The
writing staff at Kingston’s Daily Freeman at that time said that it was
the strongest response they'd ever had to a story.
Thereafter, the family received many calls inquiring after Tata and
those loving calls for Tata from strangers have continued to the present
Grandfather Tataji was born on Long Island in a Jewish Cemetery in
Soon after his birth he fell from his nest during a violent
The cemetery caretaker took him to well-known animal lover and healer Julia Manetta to see if he could be saved. Under the loving care given
by Mrs. Manetta, her husband Robert, and their children Josephine and
Robert Jr., Tata recovered from the cold and from most of his injuries.
However, he was never able to fly. His natural crow life was over.
Instead, he became a member of the Manetta family playing with the kids
and the family dog.
In 2001 Mr. Manetta was ill with cancer and a heart condition and the
was in an emotional crisis. They began looking for a person to adopt
Tata who was then 54 years old. Somehow, through wildlife rehabilitation
circles they found Kristine Flones and Glenn Miller who took Tataji into
During the last years Tata has held court from his magnificent
in the bay window of the family dining room. He had his own personal
when he communicated with local crows along Wittenberg Road. Those calls
were loud enough to be heard all over the neighborhood. Bella voce
Tataji has shown the people around him what true heart is.
He lived completely in the moment, accepting what was. He was able to
communicate this love to anyone who would spend a few quiet moments with
him. They would soon find themselves swooning with love or with tears
rolling down their cheeks and the room would be filled with the palpable
energy of intense and pure love.
Tata is also given credit for bringing local wildlife rehabilitators
together during the emergency of his situation. The result of that was
the formation of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, a not-for-profit center
for the rehabilitation of wildlife.
Donations may be made in Tata’s memory to Ravensbeard through
Christine Flones is co-founder of Ravensbeard.
C.A.S.H. also thanks Del and Fred Seligman, Esqs. for bringing the
lawsuit against the DEC that allowed Tata to stay with Christine.
Through Del, C.A.S.H. served the DEC with a Temporary Restraining Order
the evening they were going to kill Tata.