There is a mini Baby Boom happening for the Crows of Arroyos. Today on my walk around the neighborhood and down to the beach I counted apx 10 little ones in various stages of development. Twins for the 110th family, one for Mocha’s family (in the Cherry tree a few yards over), two for Ellie’s family on Marine View Drive, two separate families in the Madrona forest, and four on the beach in and around the nursery tree or on the low tide flats.
In several articles I have described how you can tell they are babies. For those that have missed that here are the things to look for; crying a moma moma caw, begging and crying with mouth open for food from parents and helpers, blue eyes, puffy head feathers, downy underfeathers and pink mouths and lips. They can look like an adult but I am sorry to say they are pretty dumb. That is why you see them dead on the road. They have no knowledge of the big world and can get into trouble quickly. Hence they need a village of crows to raise them. Once they leave the nest the helpers or extended family become even more important keeping them out of trouble. Imagine a baby who can fly off where ever he wants instead of staying in his crib. It is a wonder more of them don’t die trying to get to adult crowhood.
The babies in the madrona forest just keep popping out. I think it yielded around 4 or 5 this year. Last week I was watching a baby and it’s greater family down in the forest. I fed them peanuts and was accepted by them to be around their little fledglings. One was doing the baby cry thing and having trouble getting around from branch to branch. He was pretty funny to watch him clowning around. His older brother/sister was still asking for attention but in general doing damn well. The family started cawing down the path and along came this guy. He stopped and threw a rock at them because they were swooping him. I yelled out… “Don’t do that!”. He was startled cause he didn’t see me on the landing. He said why not? Then I explained to him about them protecting their baby. Gave him a piece of bread and said that if he started feeding them instead of throwing rocks they would stop messing with him. He said.. “REALLY?”. I explained how they know us and remember who treats them well. Obviously he had given them hell before and they were just treating him like he did them. Lesson to be learned by all with crows and we will see if he changes their mind about him.
This week at the same place I saw one of the little guys hanging out in the Eucalyptus tree that is planted by the landing in the middle of the madronas. He had been left there by his parents as they went foraging at low tide. He was feeling abandoned and was crying loudly. I was able to get a video of him. You can see what I mean by a baby crow crying moma moma and begging in general.
Enjoy this little guy!!