Posted in Baby Crows

Terrible Twos

In our backyard is a small sideshow from two pairs of twins. One set are a pair of baby crows that their parents left in our yard to fend for themselves. Guess it is time for them to grow up and the parents know it is a safe place with some food and water sources. (see them on the fence in the title photo) The other pair are a pesky set of squirrels. Their mom, who we named Rudy, comes around still. We think she has no control over this pair and they are just running amok in fine squirrel form.

Hence we have the Terrible Twos!!

Crows always come before squirrels. Let me introduce you to this pair of little dickens. This first photo shows them on our fence with a good view of the covered patio where the bird feeder hangs. This area has heavy traffic in it’s covered space by birds, squirrels and other critters.

Crow Twin arrive to look for a snack in our backyard
A motley crew of baby crows
Would you name them Heckle and Jeckle? and which one is which?

As usual they are pretty tough to tell apart so here they are individually. Just a pair of baby crow twins trying to make it in the world without much parent help. Tough love is what the crows do or they will beg forever. This way they just have to figure it out.

This is the older of the two and tends to be more polite.
Here the youngest and goofiest of the twin pair.

One of the things they have figured out is how there is seed in the edge around our patio that is full of river rock. Above this is the bird feeder and lots of folks graze on the ground for the stuff that falls out.

The sly approach making sure no one will catch him.
Rocks have treasures under them!!

This little crow has learned quickly how to dig around in the rocks to get his dinner. Hope you enjoy this short video of his ingenious use of his beak to get to the goodies.

Next we will explore how the two twin pairs cross path. This happened when we threw out some old lunch meat for the crows to eat. Yes we are one of those folks who feed crows stuff. Not like some who do it every day in big piles.  Just do this when I have bad food that I think they will like… like lunch meat!!

What happened was the squirrels were curious about what was so exciting in the grass and one decided to investigate.

Squirrel and Crow worlds collide

To help you with how this meeting really went here is a video of the squirrel on the fence. He had better thoughts about half way down the fence post.  Kind of amazing how he clings to vertical wood.

The standoff continued up on the fence. Crows win in the end
Crow seeks snack in grass while twin looks on
Twin one gets his snack
Twin two wasn’t far behind

The squirrels don’t give up and decide a little rock rooting works for them too. They are not as good at moving rocks but they do get some tid bits out of the rock drainage area.

Rock Rooting is for Squirrels too
Twins share the seed bounty

Where the squirrels excel in bratiness is around a barrel we keep garden weeds and cuttings plus any vegetable scrapes from the kitchen. They have their favorite foods and will pass up several things like tomatos and peppers. However if there is avocado skins or chunks/seeds from squash then they are all over it even before we get up in the morning.

I’m just hanging out!! Nothing wrong here!
Waiting for more goodies to come to the barrel
Twin love around the barrel
Avocado skin licked clean
Hoping for some more goodness on skin!

I will leave you with a video of these two squirrels doing their dance.  Hope you enjoyed the Terrible Twos.

Posted in Baby Crows

My Baby Dearest

Ahhh – a mother’s love for her baby. This crow family is no different than humans. They love their families and want only best for their kids.

Watch this mom clean up her whining baby. He wants a snack but mom wants to rid the little rascal of dirt and fluff his growing feathers.

This tale of crow family life began with my hearing the Momma, Momma Baby Crow Caw. Looking up I noticed them on the wire next to the Fauntleroy Preschool.

Mom and Baby hanging out on wire together

I found a good spot across the street. The edge of the sidewalk was lined with bamboo in a raised bed. I sat on the edge of that to get some stability for my photography and got this next shot zoomed in.

Just a little closer

Then I got into some serious zoomed shots and a short video. My favorite of the series is the one with mom’s open beak grooming and baby crying for food. Just a mom and her baby interacting!

With that I leave you with the photos and the video – enjoy this baby crow moment in the middle of your busy human life.

Cute Baby Crow Face – see the telltale poochy corner of his mouth
Baby dear let me cuddle you.
My favorite photo of mom loving baby up
Then they alerted to another crow’s warning of danger
Ah mom – will you knock it off – I am so embarrassed.
See Mom – I can do it myself!!

 

 

Posted in Baby Crows, Crows in Renton

Empty Nest!

Monday (the 4th of June) I came back looking for my baby crows who were busting out of their nest Friday. Remember weeks ago I estimated they would fledge around the 1st, however, I thought they seemed so young to actually leave the nest.

Guess what they had fled the nest over the weekend and my heart sunk at the end of my baby crow love fest. At first I did not see them and kind had given up on ever seeing them again. After a bit of searching I found the big brother in the maple tree next to the nest tree.

Found the oldest – he is in several trees over from the nest tree

Baby was missing and I worried cause he was so young but then mom came flying in and there he was still in the nest tree several branches down.

empty nest tree – baby hiding in boughs below

As the day progressed baby stayed put and big brother kept trekking across the trees.

Found oldest in Pine on the left

Oldest is moving quick to Pine on left.

Mid day I lost track of oldest and figured that was it. Went out and looked in the street and around making sure he did not meet his fate with a car. Did not see anything so figured he flew successfully across the street. Baby did not leave his branch and mom kept visiting him.

Next day Tuesday the 5th I came in to find baby still on his branch.

Baby is still in the nest tree – not coordinated enough to jump from branch to branch

Then there was the oldest in the second pine to the left of the nest tree.  Here is a view of all the trees so you can see how far he has gotten. That is the dark green tree to the right of the tree that partially obscures the IKEA sign. The next tree is the crooked tree another 4 over.

view of all the trees – nest tree is the short dark green one on the right – oldest got all the way to the far left trees so quickly

Oldest got into the farthest pine tree and I got a video of him playing around.

Here is my last shot of oldest in that far tree.

Tuesday oldest in another pine tree further away – one of my last photos of him

Wednesday dawns. Baby is still in the nest tree and mom has an interlude with him that I could not resist.

Baby still in nest tree and mom comes to check on him

mom hanging out with baby who is still in next tree

Mom is not impressed by baby big pink mouth

Feed me is all baby can say

Mom gives baby the crow mom eye while he begs

And a video for you to watch their interaction

That afternoon baby finally got courage and moved to the maple tree off to the left. Basically following brother into fledghood.

Baby finally got out of nest tree

Here is the video I took of baby moving around and becoming a big crow.

Late in the afternoon I walked around the trees looking for big brother. Baby was still in the maple. Then out of nowhere came three adults really pissed. They gave me hell about being around their baby, I think the brother was in the brush somewhere but decided to leave.  Those crows made a compelling case for me to get the hell out of dodge. Oh and all along I thought there was only two adults. Guess I was wrong about that.

The next day, Thursday, I didn’t see baby any more. A little walk around and the nagging adults came back. They even were working over folks walking along the sidewalk. My instincts tell me the babies were there but hidden.

Today, Monday the 11th, no sign of the babies. The nest is empty and my crow gift of watching them build, sit, hatch and raise babies is over.

Treasure the moment is all I can say when you are given a gift of nature.

I leave you with the last shot of baby.

Last picture of baby in maple nest to nest tree – 6/6/18

Posted in Baby Crows, Crows in Renton

Life in a Crow Nest

The Renton Crow nest outside my window is getting a bit crowded. Two baby crows and parent are starting to push the limit of the stick basket the parents built. My baby crow math has them at about 4 weeks old and have about another week to go before they adventure out onto the tree limbs.

Big brother looking over younger brother

If you eyeball them next to their parents they do seem to be about 3/4 adult size or maybe even bigger than that. Imagine having to share this little space with your baby brother/sister for another week while stretching and flapping your wings.

This week I got two good videos of the activity. The first is from Tuesday 5/29 my first day back after the holiday weekend. They are busy preening and picking at their feathers. They still have this waxing tube like thing over some of their feathers (called a feather sheath). This needs to be cleaned off.

Fast forward to Friday 6/1. I swear every day they get bigger, less fluffy and their beaks start to be the right size for their face. I think of baby crows feet and beaks like puppies and kittens. They too have oversize paws to their body size.  Kind of goofy cute!

One of them is in serious training by stretching and flapping. When mom shows up he gets even busier. Kind like he has to show off to her that he is ready to leave the nest. You see she is pushing them to fledge. It is not that safe in the nest and by moving them to different places every night the parents are increasing their chance of getting their babies to adulthood.

Here is a series of photos showing their cuteness throughout the day.

Fluffy Baby Crow in Pine Tree Posing – see sibling behind the boughs?

Baby Crows – which is older by a few days? Hard to tell.

Fluffy and downy feathers show well in this light.

Good look at the pink mouth which is a giveaway that this is a young crow.

Dang this nest is getting small mom!

Baby in training by flapping and stretching

Check out the waxy coating on the baby’s wing feathers.

So, another week in the crow nest passes. Next week I hope we will see the babies get even more active and show off the skills they are practicing this week.

 

Posted in Baby Crows

Baby Crows – I’ve seen THEM

The Renton Family brought me great joy and excitement this week. On the hottest day so far of the year in Seattle, late in the afternoon, there was one little baby pink mouth agape. Needless to say I hustled over to the window that had the best view with my camera and binoculars in hand.  I got lucky when I shot this video which I have edited out all the waiting I did to capture a flash of baby crow!

Mom was gone out sourcing food to keep her family growing. I was so worried since she was gone for so long with the heat and that our babies would dehydrate. I took a series of photos and gave myself a neck ache watching and waiting for the little bobble head to appear.

Mom – where are you?

The next day (Tuesday 5/15/18) to my great delight I saw another baby bob up at the same time.

Two baby beaks poking out of Renton nest

The oldest is quite a bit bigger which is common. The eggs are laid days apart and the earliest hatches earlier and often is given first choice. This seems mean but crow families are all about insuring one of their babies survive. The second and third often get short shift. I have seen this in eagle nest under camera surveillance on-line. The biggest gets stronger and if things are good the younger of the clutch survive too.,

Mid week I captured mom and dad and the little beak poking out. I have to tell you nature photography means waiting and getting lucky.  Especially since I have work to get done.

Renton Crow Family all together

How about I leave you with another short video of parents and baby to make your bird day a little happier.

 

Posted in Baby Crows, Crows in Renton

All but the Waiting Now

A couple of weeks have passed since I wrote about our Renton Crow Nest outside my window. It is not easy being expectant parents, even for a pair of crows. So, I am happy to tell you that when I left on Friday that the nest was still being sat upon.

How about we do a little baby crow math?  The first thing is how long have they been sitting there on those eggs. The first day I saw her/him sitting in the nest more than a few minutes was on Thursday April 12th. On the next Monday the 16th it was a serious sitting and no nest building. That was the day she had a bit of a kerfuffle with another crow mentioned in my prior post.

The approximate egg incubation is about 19 days. Yes do the math!!  That makes it about time to start having little mouths to feed. I wrote in my crow diary the 4th or so would be it. On Friday (the 5th) they were a bit more active and were exchanging time on the nest. Best thing I saw was their head first into the nest. Could we have some hatching?

Next critical date would be when do they fledge (leave the nest)?  That is another 35 days which is around the first week of June. Ahhh to see the youngsters dancing in the tree tops will be a treat indeed.

A word of warning here! Crow babies or for that fact any bird baby do have a pretty high mortality rate. A lot of things can go wrong from too hot, too cold, not enough food and a predator finding the nest. Here is mom panting on a rather warm day a week ago.

Let us hope for the best.

Posted in Baby Crows

Secretness of Crows

This crow way up at the top of the fir tree was on the wire holding a stick. Then he went flying by me to this tree. See in picture above how that stick he has is poking out to the right side of him?

Here is a photo of another crow with a stick to give you an idea of how he looked before he got to the tree plus a wide angle look at the neighborhood he is living in.

Off to do some home improvements with this piece of lumber

General view of Mr Crow in the small fir tree

Not so fast this crow said! When he saw me, he tucked his stick into the tree top. He (she) did not trust me or thought maybe a peanut was coming soon. The stick could be retrieved later.

I tried waiting him out by hiding a little behind my coat collar. Turned away and waited some. But every time I looked back he was still watching me and no heading to the nest with the stick.

Crows are just so secretive. They know their children’s future is precarious and so they don’t want anyone to know where they are or are going to be.

In this photo below you can see how he stashed that stick.  See the stick poking out on the left of him? It is all ready for future retrieval when the coast is clear!

Crow stashed stick in tree while he watched me below.

I get excited this time of year because as I see the sticks fly by they lead me to where the nest will be. Baby crows are in our future!

Posted in Baby Crows

10 Crow Babies Creating Chaos

It has been a busy year for baby crows. I found the top 10 baby crow episodes that I witnessed them creating chaos in their parents lives. This is in the same vain as in 2011 I wrote an article called 6 Baby Crows Crying.  A popular post of all the little ones I found one Sunday.

Here we go in no particular order starting with a parent and child sitting in a tree.

1) I called it Two Tails because the photo made a good pun on two tales.

Two Tails – parent & baby crow

2) Grocery Store Parking Lot baby – I drove up and mom was showing junior how to forage in people garbage. Mom flew off but I got a good shot from my car of baby picking around and then crying for mom to come back and feed him.

Baby Crow poking in spilt drink and lunch trash

Not satisfied baby cries for mom to come back and feed him.

3) Walking around the neighborhood I saw crows hiding french fries. That steered me to this tree where a baby was demanding his tally of the feast.

Mom I want a french fry – please go get it for me!

Baby Crow wanting a french fry

4) Dumpsters are a good place to teach your children to be self sufficient. Most of us humans go Yewwwww!!  But a crow family find our garbage a bounty of easy food for training little ones to eat on their own.  Dumpster Diving Crows is the post if you want to see all of it.

5) How about a little roof top drama. This baby will not take no for an answer as his parent feeds him something.

Dinner on the roof

Mom is feeding something from between her toes

6) Family that plays together stays together.  Here is a small murder with their babies playing in and out of the bird bath. I think this pair had three babies this year. What a handful!

 

Bird bath family fun

7) Back in June I found this baby in my neighbors monkey tree. His parents were being a little crazy cause I saw him there. It is Tough being a Baby Crow.

Monkey Tree Baby

 

Fluffing up takes practice

8) Baby crows love to play and learn at the same time. Sound like us humans? Here is a little one who thought he had some food product but it was just a brown dry leaf instead.

It has no taste. Mom come help me

Ah ha… got it again. It won’t get away from me!

I am still confused!

What do I do now? Is it food? or a toy?

9) Cry baby is the only way to describe baby crows. They are persistent at nagging their parents well after they can fend for themselves. This is actually the best way to tell a crow is a baby.

Crying is an important skill for baby crows

They appear to be an adult but that little open mouth that cries as it chases another crow is a sure clue.  This one is in a fir tree in mid May early in the fledging season. At this time of year I get super excited to see my first baby crow.

10) Playing in the street is a problem for baby crows just like humans. They do not have good sense of what that big metal thing hurtling at them is. In the spring and summer if you see a deceased crow on the road 9 out of 10 times it is a youngster.  This family was actually foraging in the road but the baby is dawdling.  Then the parents got him over onto a lawn when a car went by.  Close call!!

crows playing in the street

Baby cries after being chased out of street

Hope you enjoyed my ten best baby crow encounters so far this year. They are living right beside us, you just have to listen and watch for their funny pranks.

 

Posted in Baby Crows

Daddy Crows

Crow dads are not deadbeats. They are active parents working with their partner and an extended family.

Walking with my honey

Raising baby crows is not just a mom thing. Many animals and birds leave that all up to the mothers but not crows. Not only does the parent pair get into co-parenting but so does the youngsters from prior clutches and even grandparents.

Here is an excerpt from a magazine article written by Kevin McGowan of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.  He has studied crows extensively and here is a link if you want to read more by him.  Kevin McGowan Crow FAQ  

Most young birds leave their parents soon after leaving the nest, often being chased away, and never see the parents again. In contrast, American crows never chase away their offspring, and the young may remain at home for years. Some crows stay with their parents for up to five years or even longer. (This past year one six-year-old crow that was marked the first year of my study was still associating with its younger siblings and, it appeared, with its unmarked parents.) Probably no crow breeds before it is two years old, and most don’t breed until later than that. While they wait for a breeding opportunity, most crows help their parents raise young. They help feed the incubating female, feed the nestlings and fledglings, defend the territory and the nest, and stand guard over other family members while they forage. Such cooperative breeding behavior is rare in birds. Only a handful of species in North America exhibit it, and none are as widespread as the American crow.

Today while you BBQ, raise your glass to some of the best and hardest working dads in the bird world… Mr Crow.