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Our baby crow

Our baby crow

I found this crow sitting on a stone on top of a pile of bricks near our greenhouse on Thursday afternoon (20 May), the day before the storm. It looked sad and confused.

Its feathers hadn’t grown fully. You could see the fluffy baby feathers still showing in places. Maybe it was a little frightened but it made no attempt to get away.

Its tail feathers were extremely short.

When Julie arrived home I told her about the crow and she came to have a look. She realised it was a baby, but how had it got there? Had it fallen from its nest?

She thought it might be dehydrated and went and got it a small bowl of water. As she offered the bowl it didn’t move forwards to drink but opened its beak wide to be fed like baby birds do in their nests. Clearly it was a baby and not just a small and tatty adult.

We looked on the internet and found that it was normal for crows to leave the nest before they could fly as they were vulnerable to predators if they remained in the nest. We wondered if the parents were aware of their lost child. We called him “Little Jimmy”.

The website advised not trying to feed the baby as it had to learn to fend for itself and might become attached to you as a human with unfortunate consequences.

We were being watched

The website said that it was very common to find fledgling crows wandering around looking lost and not knowing what to do or where to go. However, the best thing for the baby crow was to leave it alone. The parents would be watching and waiting for the humans to go away so they could go down to see their offspring. Humans could harm the chances of survival by trying to “take care of the little crow”.

That evening

While we were having our evening meal we could hear crows cawing in the garden and thought the adults were talking to the baby, or maybe telling it off. But at least we were reassured to think that the parents were aware of the baby and might well be feeding it.

The day of the storm

The next day began very windy. About 8am we could see a parent bird about 20 feet up in an oak tree looking down at the baby. I photographed the bird from an upstairs window using my small camera and zooming in on it.

I couldn’t get a very good view from our upstairs window, or get the camera to focus well through the double-glazing, but I could see Little Jimmy looking windswept and pathetic by our garden shed. At least he had survived the night and had the strength to get down from the pile of bricks and walk about thirty feet.

Attempted break-in by a baby crow

About ten o’clock that morning I was in our lounge when I heard a tapping and scraping noise by our patio doors. I went to investigate.

There was Little Jimmy inquisitively looking in.

I watched him and he went over to our conservatory which adjoins our lounge.

He was looking into the conservatory and maybe could see his own reflection. 

Perhaps he thought this was another crow.

Then he flapped his wings in an attempt to get in. Obviously this didn’t work.

So he walked away in disgust.

Stormy day

As the day went on the winds got stronger and stronger and roared through the oak trees swirling and tossing the branches about in the wood behind our house. We just hoped Little Jimmy would be OK.

We went out on two or three occasions to look for him and found him in his original place, perched on top of the small pile of bricks. In fact it was quite a good choice for him as he was sheltered there by a bush and would have some protection from the high winds.

The next day, Saturday, we looked out of the lounge window and saw Little Jimmy sitting confidently on the head of our small statue. So it seemed his wings and strength had developed sufficiently to enable him to fly up to about a metre in height.

Last sighting of the baby crow

By Sunday morning the storm was over and the garden was quiet. I went to take out some vegetable peelings to our compost heap and found Little Jimmy perched on a wooden fencing panel that made up the side of the compost heap. He looked at me me curiously, but he never spoke.

The next day we went away for a few days holiday and on our return he was nowhere to be seen, unless that was him, now strong enough to fly high, flapping about high in the oak tree. We think he probably made it.

David Roberts, 30 May 2021.