Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to Long Beach, where he quickly became enchanted with the natural world of the seahore. This is when he started to keep any pet that he could get his hands on: It mattered not if it was an insect, fish, amphibian, bird or mammal.

When he was 7, the Morrones relocated to Cold Spring Harbor, where Marc was introduced to the natural world of Long Island's North Shore. The larger house his family had there allowed him to keep more and more pets, and this passion has continued to this day.

The experience and knowledge that he gained by keeping any kind of pet in all lifestyle situations has opened many doors for him, and he currently shares his knowledge with other petkeepers in many media formats. In addition to his weekly column in Newsday, he hosts a weekly TV show on Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island called Animal Island that airs on Saturday and Sunday. He also hosts a TV show called Petkeeping with Marc Morrone that airs Monday through Friday at noon on The HallMark Channel.

He is the petkeeping expert that appears on Martha Stewart's daily TV show as well as writer for the pet columns in the magazine Martha Stewart Living. In addition, he also hosts a live call-in radio show every Friday night at 8 p.m. on the Martha Stewart channel on Sirus/XM radio channel 112/157.

Morrone has written 5 books: Ask the Dogkeeper, Ask the Catkeeper, Ask the Birdkeeper and Ask the Fishkeeper, all published by Bowtie Press. He also has a memoir book, "A Man For All Species," published by Random House.

Marc Morrone lives in Oceanside with his wife and son and a houseful of pets.
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My son's two cats lived with us for the past three years. They recently moved with him to his new home. He is going away for four days. Are they better off coming back here for the four days, or staying at his house, where I could check in on them a couple of times a day? Further, one complains incessantly for food in the middle of the night. Also, I see these cat strollers in advertisements. If the cats are 17 and hardly ever get outside, would strolling around in the warm months freak them out, or would it be a reprieve from sleeping all day? They get absolutely no exercise, so I thought this would break the boredom for them. -- Mike Scatturo, Garden City

Based on your description of the night situation, I would say there would be a lot less drama in your life if you went to your son's house to care for the cats.

I actually did a TV segment many years back about those strollers and at first I was shaking my head in disbelief about them. But the cats did seem to enjoy the stroll. Even though they did not get any exercise, they still got to see and smell and hear the outdoor world in a safe and controlled manner.

We have a Christmas wreath hanging on our front door that we never bothered to take down, and when I went to finally take it away on that first nice day we had last week a mourning dove flew out of it and I saw a nest in it with two little white eggs. The mother came back after a few minutes. We are now only using the back door out of respect for the mother. How long will we have to keep the wreath with the nest in it? -- Deborah Williams, Uniondale

Mourning doves are very prolific breeders and they nest all spring and summer as their babies grow remarkably fast. It takes about 18 days or so for the eggs to hatch, and then the parents take turns feeding the babies. The little ones usually leave the nest when they are 14 to 20 days old. One minute the two babies are sitting in the nest and the next minute they are gone. Mourning doves rarely use the same nest for their next clutch, so as soon as you notice the nest is empty you can take down the wreath and go back to using your front door again.

As a young boy, I had a neighbor who rescued two orphaned crows. He raised them and released them. However, they refused to leave and they stayed on his property. Since then I've always wanted one as a pet. As an adult I researched crows or ravens as pets and found that it was illegal to own them. They are classified as protected species. Why? They are not endangered. In fact, they are in abundance here in New York. I know it's legal to own an African crow as a pet, but what is the reasoning behind prohibiting owning a black crow or raven? -- Thom Butler, Deer Park

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The answer comes down to the proper management of natural resources.

Historically, when humans have unregulated access to any natural resource, they have done a pretty horrible job controlling use of it. Thus, many species of birds and other life forms are now extinct. So biologists and scientists hired by the government now have to keep track of bird populations and decide if the numbers are correct for the habitat they are living in.

At this time, there are no species of birds that are native to North America that humans are allowed to keep as pets. The only birds you might see in your backyard that you could keep are English sparrows, starlings, Quaker parrots and pigeons, because those species are not native to North America but were introduced here and are now considered invasive species. There are plenty of other birds that you can keep as a pet, so there is no need to make things more complicated.

As you pointed out, you can keep an African Pied Crow as a pet. They make just as nice a pet as a North American crow. While you may not see one for sale in your average pet store, there are quite a few breeders who will sell them as pets to those bird keepers looking for something different.