Archive | June 2020

Counting crows

I had the best ending possible with the crow I was raising. It came to me sick. Very sick. There were three found on a golf course, all alone in the sun.
Crows never abandon their babies. For these three to be there, not only the parents, but any extended family would already be dead.
One crow was barely alive and didn’t even make it here. Of the other two, one was extremely ill and the other just hanging in there. I recognized the signs of poison. The ticks, the drooling, the head tilting backwards. They could not even stand and used their partially feathered wings to support themselves.
My best guess is that the golf course (this was just before they reopened to the public) had poisoned gophers, chipmunks or other rodents they consider to be “pests”.
The family unit of crows not only ate them, but fed them to their babies. The adults received the higher dose, the babies a bit less, so they died slower, no water, no food, hot sun. They probably fell from the nest.
I wasn’t sure I could save either of them, but they made it through the night. On the third day the sickest one died in spite of treatment. The other began to respond. Another day and he could stand. A few more and he took food from my fingers instead of pumping liquid food into him.
He was a bit odd. Most crows bond quickly to me, but I figured that since this one was nearly ready to fledge, he was more independent. He was inside for about a month and started flying from shelf to desk. Where ever a crow flies or lands or sits, it also shits. there was a lot of that going on. He liked to sit on top of the other cages and see if he could make direct hits on the occupants. The night I had to clean crow crap off my keyboard with a cotton swab, I decided he was moving outside.
His big cage went out on the porch, where he could see the other crows and wild birds. The other crows were my main worry. There is a family unit that lives out behind the house. Family units are close knit and they don’t often tolerate strange crows in their territory. Especially when they have babies. This family had three, I could hear them every day.
I suspect that at least one of the original members of this clan was raised by me a few years ago and I know that the crow from last summer was accepted into their family. I really hoped that a gradual introduction could be made.
After some time with the cage on the porch, I let the fledgling out. They usually don’t go far at first, and stay in the front yard to be close to the kitchen door for feeding. The first day went fine. I noticed last years crow was coming to the big maple tree to observe the newcomer. I prayed that he would not attack it.
By the third day of letting him out, he flew to the tree where the older crow sat. Then they disappeared. By evening. I worried, I called for the baby crow. I finally heard him answer from across the street in a wooded area. I got some food and went to him. He was just out of reach. I knew he must be hungry, but he ignored my repeated offers of food. I finally gave up around dark and hoped he would be back at the porch in the morning.
He wasn’t. He was not where I last saw him either. I did not see him all day, nor did I see the crow from last year. I thought I’d lost him.
On the second morning, I heard him in the back yard. I could also hear the other crows and their babies. I went out and could see him high up in a dead tree next door. I kept trying to coax him down and then another crow flew next to him and fed him. It was the yearling crow from last year. It had taken on the baby crow.
Now I hear 4 babies calling to their family members to feed them. He is living the life of an absolutely normal crow. He has family. One of the most important things for a crow to survive is family. They took him in. I don’t know for sure, but I believe it was because they knew he was connected to me and they recognize me as some sort of friend.
They can teach him what I can’t. They can feed him and groom him and teach him to chase away hawks and eagles from my yard. In some way, they are my protectors and my children at the same time.
Crows. They never cease to amaze me.