This morning, I was getting the ducks and clucks set up for the day in the aviary when I noticed the crow crows were taking snacks up to the tree and feeding their baby fledgling.
I asked them nicely if they would bring down their fledgling to meet me and hang out, and they said they’d think about it.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, their baby flew down on his own to see the yard for himself. He hopped up on the aviary and stared at the ducks and clucks. He walked on top of the net like a trampoline and decided he liked the handicapped kids. He sat and stared at them for a good five minutes.
Then he hopped down to the crow’s water dish and washed down the cat kibble and hard-boiled egg I’d given his parents to feed him.
You can tell a baby crow from an adult crow by the pink sides to their beaks and their blue eyes. As they grow, those eyes turn a dark brown and their beak turns black.
Baby crow really liked just sitting on the side of the water dish and staring into the aviary at the ducks and clucks.
He’d take a drink, gulp it down and sit and stare. I would have cleaned the water dish if I’d known they were really going to listen to me and bring their baby crow down to meet me!
Then something crazy happened. The two parent crows left their baby with me and hopped up high in the tree. They chatted for a bit and then flew off over the house next door and across the street.
“Um… hey baby. How’re you doing?”
“Do you know when your parents are coming back?”
“Am I getting paid anything to babysit you right now?”
“I need to take Lionel to the vet in a bit, just so you know. So maybe you want to call them or something?”
Baby crow decided to jump into the water dish for a quick splash. I’m pretty sure this was the baby’s first bath. Can you see the pin feathers growing in under his wing?
Then he went back to staring into the aviary at the ducks and clucks.
Baby crow is a gangly little thing. Goofy and playful and awkward in all the best ways.
He hopped back and forth across the deck.
And kept hopping up and down on the water dish to get a drink.
Look how big those talon-claws are already.
Aww baby… you’re beautiful!
Baby crow just kept hopping up and down and around while I chatted with him and took photos from all the way across the yard with my big lens.
Isn’t he just the most perfect little baby crow you’ve ever seen?
Time for more hopping!
I was getting a little worried that the parents were going to be gone for a while. Baby crow was just chilling out, but I needed to get moving to take Lionel to the vet.
Hoppity hop hop.
Flappity flap flap.
Just then, an adult crow swooped down to the water dish! I didn’t have time to react and get photos, because the two parent crows swooped in too as the baby crow cried and flew up into a tree. The swooping crow was not a parent!
A rogue crow had swooped down on the baby to attack it. Thankfully the parents were closer than I thought, and they came flying in at break-neck speed to chase off the rogue crow.
The rogue crow and his mate sat on top of my house while the crow parents sat on top of the neighbor’s house. They argued with each other for quite a while, with the baby crow safely in a tree. I have noticed these rogue crows for a few weeks now. I think they are also feeding a fledgling of their own, down the street.
They’ve figured out that I’m the neighborhood treat dispenser, and they want in on that action. I can usually tell if they’re pretending to be my yard crows, because they’re more skittish and frankly not very good actors.
I had to get going to take Lionel Ernest to the vet for a re-check, so I set out some cat kibble for both couples and went back inside.
The parent crows gave me a look like they were disappointed in my babysitting skills, but it was my first time. I hope they give me a second chance. I cleaned the water dish, so I hope that helps.
Even if it turns out to be my only crow babysitting gig, it was quite an honor.