You’re walking down the sidewalk when suddenly you notice a waddling little mass of black feathers trying awkwardly to hide under a bush or car. When you begin to approach the young crow, it simply stares up at you or perhaps continues on its poorly planned waddle down the sidewalk or worse, into traffic. Clearly this baby crow cannot fly and has a habit of making bad decisions. Your instinct (and perhaps the opportunity to interact with a baby animal) are tempting you to intervene and “save” this young crow who seems ill prepared to be out of the nest. What should you do?
The answer, almost always, is to ignore your instincts and good intentions. I have many friends and colleagues who are either licensed wildlife rehabbers or who spent summers volunteering with their local rehab facilities, that can attest to the dozens of animals that get brought in during the spring and summer by well intentioned folks who assumed that finding a baby meant it needed help. In many of these cases, these animals did not need help and now they’ve been separated from their parents or mother and stand a much lower chance of surviving once they’re released. So how do you avoid making the same error?
First, understand that corvid babies (and many other open-cup nesting songbirds) very often leave the nest before they are completely flighted. For crows, this early departure can be on the order of 7-10 days before they can fly. Although this strategy is risky and leads to lower fledgling survival rates than for species that wait until the babies are fully flighted, the alternative is quite literally an “all your eggs in one basket” situation where the longer the kids stay in the nest the more chance they stand of being discovered by a predator who will then wipe out the whole brood.1 By pushing kids out sooner, the less developed ones may get caught by a predator or killed by some other means, but the stronger individuals stand a better chance of escaping. It’s not a great compromise, but its continued selection suggests it’s the one that works best.
During this vunerable time, the young are still in the care of their parents who will continue to feed and defend them until they reach independance. So finding a flightless baby crow or jay is totally normal between late May and July and does not imply that it has been abandoned or fallen out of the nest.
Simply knowing this piece of corvid biology will lay to rest the concerns for most situations you may find yourself in this summer. For babies that are naked, bleeding, have drooping wings, or are within reach of a dog or cat, etc., the following flow chart is excellent and will help navigate the situation (I’ve thrown in the mammal one too just for good measure).
Help, I’ve found a baby bird
Help, I’ve found a baby mammal
The main thing to remember is; as long as the baby is mostly feathered and being attended by its parents, it’s just where it needs to be. Only if it’s trapped in a storm drain, naked, injured, cornered by a cat, or after several hours has not been visited by its parents is it appropriate to intervene. Even in most of those cases, simply creating a makeshift nest out of a basket and securing it to a tree, or placing the baby in a bush and leaving the area, is much better than taking it away to a facility. So use your best judgment this summer and remember; if you feel your situation is unique and has not been addressed by the flow charts provided, give a rehab facility a call and let them help you decide if an animal needs to be removed before you make the mistake of taking babies away from their parents.
79 responses to “Help, I’ve found a baby crow!”
Another great blog post with fascinating info. Thanks, Kaeli.
Yes, and that’s a very good advice, I completely agree.
My carrion crow pair, alas, seems to have lost their offspring… that means, they were both down on the ground today for about 6 hours, no activity at their nest, no sign of a baby. 8 days ago they were very busy up there on their treetop where they had built a solid home. Makes me feel rather sad – to say the least.
Kaeli, do you think they might take a second chance this summer?
This place has quite a lot of traffic (humans, dogs, bicycles, noise etc.) and I had a bad feeling about their choice to settle right next to my 3-years-site from the start. It’s my 4th summer season in succession… don’t know what happened since my last visit (May 20). Thank you, anyway – love your blog!
Christian, I think it’s highly probable that they will give it another go. I too have been there, wondering why on earth a pair would choose such a horrible place to nest and thinking it’s unlikely their offspring will survive. It’s always a bummer, but hawks, owls and scavengers need to eat too! Life in nature is never wasted unless we bag it up and put it in a landfill. Hopefully though, this next time around they will be more selective in choosing a location!
Kaeli, I’m sorry for being a bit late now. Have been back again at my site on June 1st for 6 hours and the overall situation has remained unchanged. Fed the pair as usual – peanuts in the shell, walnuts, hard boiled eggs, dry dog food and even small balls of fresh steak tartare, a small dish of water(!)). Again they both were on the ground simultaneously, no action at the nest as it had been before. Heard no baby crow calls at all.
=> Many thanks for giving me some hope that they might try a second breeding attempt. 🙂
— The crows also like small slices of cheese, but I stopped offering cheese at this crucial time of the year because of the birds’ lactose intolerance.
— I “hide” their favorite morsels into plastic boxes… those with these clips they have to pick at to get the tidbits. First, they have to turn the box upside down, then put a foot or whole weight on the box and finally pick at the clip to open the box. They accomplish this task in a very regular way… while the dogs around here are also interested in these boxes… they scent the meat inside but can’t open them – so the dogs’ owners have no reason to complain. Last year the pair of crows here apparently tried to teach their one and only young how to handle the boxes, step by step… one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in wild life. Could have been the start of a culture. ; -) Unfortunately, this was the last time I’ve seen that juvenile.
— I don’t mind the natural predators; they just do what they have to do. No grudge.
Definitely sounds like you witnessed some awesome social learning and, indeed, perhaps the first steps of some new cultural knowledge. So glad you were lucky enough to see and appreciate the cleverness of crows through your insightful “tests”. Keep learning and sharing!
My campus has at least four groups of hooded crows, but they’re outnumbered by feral cats. The cats prowl hungrily at peoples’ feet, and the crows tend to avoid being on ground level. I offer daily food to the crows nearest to my department, and play some feeding games with them. “My” crows are keener if I put most of the snacks on low branches, handrails, pillars, or other objects that the cats (watching!) cannot reach. If I point to the food items, I have the impression that the crows follow my gestures. They rarely miss any morsel.
Since the start of May, I’ve noticed a few young crows appearing in local trees. My regular group of crows had two youngsters. When I pass their garden (in recent days) the newest crows beg and flap their wings (facing the adults). I lay out some mushy cheese, which both adults gather and shove into the babies’ beaks. Previously, the adults ate meat and junk-food snacks, but now they grab the cheese preferentially. Perhaps it’s better food for babies? The youngsters are feathered but act wobbly. Their feathers are shiny; not pollution-stained like the adults’.
Temperatures can reach 40°C when a wind blows from the desert rather than the sea. The week before last, there were two heatwave days when I met distressed, unsupervised babies from neighbouring crow families, in different areas of campus. Each time, I fed or watered the (begging) baby and then left it on site. I assumed — consistent with your advice — that the parents would be somewhere nearby. OTOH, I don’t really know what finally happened to those crows, after I quietened and left them. I feel a bit guilty; I probably should have stayed and done more.
I could describe those encounters in more detail, but I’m more worried by something recent. Today “my” regular departmental crows seem to have lost one of their two offspring. Only one fledgling yelled when I passed their garden this morning, and the parents were only feeding this one. Normally, I can locate both youngsters by hearing their cries and watching where the parents fly. At dusk, again, there was only one young crow between the parents.
The parents aren’t acting angry or aggrieved. They’re as friendly towards me as usual. They ignore the passing streams of undergrad students.
Do hooded crows ever intentionally *dump* one baby? The missing young crow was fit enough to fly from tree to tree within this particular garden. If it has been abandoned, how long could it survive unfed? I’m listening and watching out for a vulnerable bird, but it would need to be lucky to evade the cats.
I’ve never heard of crows “dumping” kids as you suggest, though if there’s one thing I know it’s never say never when it comes to crows. The much more likely case, however, is that the youngster died either by the hands of a predator (probably those cats) or its own naivete. The majority of baby crows won’t survive their first year, so if your pair manages to keep this last kid alive through the summer they’re doing very well. Watching parents lose kids is the tough price of admission we pay to know a family of crows well!
Curtis, I did some more digging and I found that crows are among the birds that with throw nestlings out of the nest if times are tough, but I couldn’t find anything for abandoning fledglings. Just wanted to share the update.
Kaeli, many thanks for the information and perspective. Maybe I won’t see this fledgling again. I’ll check the ground in the gardens a few more times, just in case. Not optimistic.
I found the missing fledgling. This evening, I played the usual game of distributing cheese in the garden for the two adult crows to collect. I saw one adult detouring away onto a rooftop, where an old air-conditioning unit keeps dripping a puddle of water. Adult crow dipped a carried blob of cheese in the water, swished it, then fed the soaked bits to a begging fledgling.
At the same time, the other fledgling was begging from a branch above my head, and receiving untreated cheese from the other parent. Two safe fledglings.
The cheese-puddle routine was repeated a few times. One time, rather than beak-to-beak feeding, the parent just stood over the wet cheese till the youngster picked it up unaided. I took a few photos of this activity. It was amusing to watch a bird using an inanimate structure to alter / prepare food.
One of the fledgling hooded crows I’ve fed for a couple of months seems hurt today.
The parents called out repeatedly when I arrived at the feeding place, near my department. Baby came walking slowly across the carpark. Not flying. Baby would not fly up onto the platforms where I laid food (above the feral cats’ reach). I threw morsels onto the ground instead. I looked closer at the youngster, and saw there are bare pink patches without scales, on both legs. One toe is missing a claw. When not moving, the fledgling stands on one foot, with the other foot lifted off the ground. Parents seem to be trying to call their offspring up into the trees, but the youngster stays grounded, and eventually wanders into dense scrub where I cannot follow.
I’m afraid that there might have been a misadventure with a cat. Should I try to catch the hurt crow for nursing and attention? Should I catch it and put it up onto a flat roof where there are no cats? The bird is limping asymmetrically, but disappeared into the bush before I could (half-heartedly) attempt a capture. I might go back out for another look.
Just yesterday, this little crow was hopping nimbly and playfully on a fence just a metre from me, waiting for me to dish out treats.
Am I overreacting? Is it possible that this is just a natural condition, and that scales moult off the feet occasionally? Is it a nutritional problem? To date, I’ve mainly given cheese and turkey to the crows.
Oh Curtis, I’m sorry to hear about your family’s fledgling! From what you describe it does sound like it’s been injured. As far as what to do that’s really up to you. Personally, and I know this is a very unfavorable opinion amongst most crow lovers, I choose not to interfere in these cases. It sounds harsh, but I would rather let a kid die in the care of its parents than survive isolated in a box at some facility or home. It’s not that I have anything against people who legally obtain pet or educational crows, it’s just that there are far too many crow babies that are needlessly taken from their parents by over zealous, well intentioned people and I don’t want to contribute to those numbers. So I err on the side of being overly optimistic that the kid will survive. I think your suggestion of at least putting it out of harms (i.e cats) way and giving it the opportunity to recover in safety is a great compromise. If you do decide to capture the little guy, I strongly urge you to take it to a professional rehabber. Stress in birds, especially baby birds, is incredibly nuanced and I would defer to the experts of others to provide care. I’m sorry you’ve found yourself with this dilemma, it’s no fun to watch “your” family of crows lose their babies 😦
Kaeli, thanks. I’m trying to establish an alternative feeding area on an human-accessible, flat, tiled rooftop, 5 levels above the cats. The adult crows have watched me lay food there, but the fledgling hasn’t come yet.
If I find the fledgling in the garden, weakened enough to be /gently/ picked up, I’ll wash the wounds with disinfectant, visit a vet, or at least carry the fledgling onto the roof. The youngster is free, and still follows me (slowly) on the ground, expecting feeding and caching games, but darts quickly out of reach whenever I offer a hand or arm. I won’t try anything deceptive or rough to catch this crow. As long as the bird remains fast enough to dodge an offered hand, I guess that’s a good sign of stability.
Summary of recent encounters:
* Within an hour after your reply (late afternoon), I searched the garden and saw the fledgling sitting on one foot, alone, on a pole 30cm above ground. Not a safe tree. Youngster recognised me, hopped closer, ate thrown/dropped food, and play-cached in the dirt. Slow, but evaded contact. When bored of playing, the little crow wandered off into impenetrable bush.
* While I was cleaning the feeding area, a large cat charged repeatedly at me, cursing, snarling, ramming my legs. Mad about something. Cat was easier to trick than a crow: in the fuss, I walked to the cliff edge, and shook my attacker off. Cat landed in a lower garden, prowling and yelling up at me. A few seconds after the cat was exiled, both crow parents landed on a fence at my level. I fed them. Cat wandered away.
* Feeding at 10:30 yesterday. One adult came, called the other adult over, and I fed them. Over ~30min, they would pause, fly to various sides of the garden and emit their “wah-wah” summoning noise. I believe they were calling the fledgling. Youngster didn’t appear.
* At 15:00: the parents flew down for another feed when I passed. This time, they were able to call the baby, who flew down from an inaccessible roof. During feeding and caching games, the fledging followed me on the ground, but didn’t fly till finally departing. Drank deeply from a dish of water; swallowed rather more than the parents did. The wounds are still pink; bone is visible at one ankle/knee; one claw is definitely gone. Baby makes eye contact; tracks and gathers thrown food; but hasn’t uttered any sounds since injured (not even flap-begging to the parents).
* After baby crow flew back up to a high roost, the black beserker cat reappeared below the cliff. The parent crows, in a tree, /screamed/ towards the cat till it departed. They sounded like persistent human screams. I never heard the crows make /that/ noise before. Their heads bob up and down while screaming. That cat isn’t popular.
Conclusion. The hurt fledgling seems to be recovering its former liveliness. I’m no longer considering capture. Over the last 3 days, the youngster has been faster than the parents in noticing and greeting me when I approach the garden.
OTOH, there have been no audible vocalisations, towards the adult crows or towards me. Yesterday, I was met with a fluffy, vigorous, babyish display of open-mouthed flapping-begging: but without sound. Normally this little bird seems louder than an alarm clock, until feeding begins. Can trauma render a crow mute, without affecting other abilities?
I’ve also been surprised by a new mannerism. A few times while I was busy laying food, the fledgling fixes me with a sideways stare, lifts the most injured (left) foot into the air, and waves like a theatrical plea. Is that too much anthropomorphization? Are crows so sensitive to the human gaze, that they can tell when I’m watching a specific limb? Can a crow guess, without practice, that this signalling can wring a human ally for extra sympathy? Maybe this was just coincidence, but it’s certainly cute enough to succeed.
Glad to hear the fledgie is doing well! I’ve never heard of injuries like what you’ve so far described resulting in muteness but then again I’m no veterinarian. As for the foot waving, again I’m afraid I can’t offer much in the area of expertise. Yours is just such a unique circumstance to try and extrapolate out from. As far as I know, there’s been no studies looking at anything in more depth than simply they are (generally) attentive to gaze. I know dogs are sensitive to the more expressive side of our faces, but I’d be surprised if crows (or dogs) were sensitivity to which part of their body we’re looking at. I just can’t imagine how that would come up enough to have evolved, can you? Whereas dogs being sensitive to our facial expressions makes sense in the context of our coevolution. If, however, the waving results in more attention (food) from you, you may have been unknowingly training it to do this little move by reinforcing the behavior with reward every time it does it. Or it could just be resting/stretching its foot before it knows it’s going to put it to use scuttling over to get peanuts from you. I cannot say for certain!
Kaeli, thanks again for perspective on the injured fledgling’s habits. Maybe my over-indulgence encouraged the foot gestures. It’s difficult to see all the ways I might be influencing the bird. I wonder whether crows interpret the intentions of fellow crows, humans, and other animals using the same parts of the brain? Perhaps that isn’t testable.
Anyhow, the fledgling seems almost adult size. This week, the parents have mostly ignored its (silent) pleas for feeding (at least while I watched). However I did hear one vocalisation yesterday: the youngster spotted me at an irregular time (when I was sneaking out for shopping) and emitted the same cawing noise that the adults use to summon their group together. So, I was partly wrong about muteness.
Here are 2 cropped photos showing how the fledgling stands with one foot in the air (if the links work). The third photo shows the skinned knee/ankle (which has healed somewhat since the picture was taken).
Feeding these crows elicits a funny variety of behaviours. The adults (sensibly) prefer food left high above the cats’ reach. The fledgling seems to enjoy fetching morsels that I throw; whereas airborne food scares the adults to retreat. (The photos are from a “fetch/caching” play session with the fledgling.) The crows have individual preferences for meat, cheese, grapes, peanuts, and baked foodstuff. They baffle me every day. Peanuts are accepted, but aren’t as popular as meat scraps. Grapes are either adored and stripped apart, or thrown off the cliff disdainfully. ….
Apologies for staying off your original blog topic.
Knowing what we do about their ability to interpret human pointing, I bet our team could come up with a way to test your question using our PET scanning technique (provided anyone had any time or funding). Anytime to throw into the bank for a rainy day perhaps 🙂 Obviously I can’t predict the future, and most everything is working against the survival of an individual crow, but I will tell you I see LOTS of adults that do just fine with the kind of injured foot and posturing that the little juvie is displaying in the photos so there’s no reason to give up hope. If it’s survived this long between our communications I take that to show that it’s parents are helping it, perhaps they’re just shy to do so around you, or it’s old enough they’re pushing it to independence with a little tough love. As for the grapes in most instances they’re considered a low quality food and are rejected. But, like people, corvids have individual tastes which you’ve clear discovered!
Had a similar situation where a pair of crows had two young ones. About two weeks ago we found both young under our large spruce tree where they were nesting. One was quite active and was able to fly up into the spruce tree but the other was limping around. Unable to get back into the tree. It’s been on the ground for the last two weeks and was able to fly short distances but was very unstable at landing and hopping around. We gave it water and some bread crumbs and the parents kept coming back and feeding it.
The injured leg had a good size bare lump on it’s thigh – probably some sickness or dislocation or break .
This morning I found it dead on the ground with no physical signs of injury and was somewhat surprised as other than the leg, it seemed quite healthy.
I thought it may not survive but the sudden death was somewhat unexpected.
A very interesting and enlightening two weeks watching it.
Me and my step mom found a little nestling on a tree. He looked stressed and a big storm was coming. We watch him and kept a eye for his parents for halve an hour. With the storm coming and no parent birds we had to take him in. We have been feeding him mushed up dog food soaked in hot water and made a nest for him with a heating pad covered by paper towel and yarn. But there are no rescue centers that accept crows in my area. Any tips to care for him. Also I like this advice and agree with it.
Haley, hand rearing crows is not something I’m an expert at so I’ll abstain from giving you shoddy instructions. My advice would be to contact a local (meaning within state I know you said there wasn’t one near) rehab center and talk to an expert. There are also Facebook groups (Crow’s nest rescue is one I can think of) dedicated to this topic so that’s a community that would be happy to help. There’s also a good chance you could find its parents and release it without further care. It certainly sounds like your heart was in the right place Hayley. I wonder though, how did you judge that it looked stressed? How could you tell that the stress was from the storm and not your presence? If the parents had been there would the fledglings situation really been any different? It’s possible the parents buckled down someplace nearby and left the kid in a spot it was comfortable. Just things to think about. Good luck!
Oh my.. I started my crow adventures by rescuing Ellie from a cat. We raised her in our shed with a light bulb and a variety of high protein foods like worms, hamburger and pet food. Not for the weak of heart to say the least. She was no ordinary crow baby I know now. She had pin feathers and had been blown out of the tree weeks before ready and yes a cat thought she was tasty looking.
The best part is her parents never left the area. They were there every day watching and supervising us. She followed my hubby around and played in the yard sprinkler. She always pooped in one corner of her bin and nest we built… so smart.
Then one day another crow came and saw her. Within days she left with him/her and that was it. She was gone.
And a blog was born.
Thank you so much for posting the helpful flow chart. We’re nervously waiting out a grounded fledgling in our back yard, trying to leave it alone and survive without the use of our back yard, while also keeping the cats away and making sure the water supply gets replenished in the 100-degree heat. After three days we were worried something was wrong; what a relief to know junior’s still within a normal time frame, and things might work out.
I don’t think we could bear another crow tragedy; two years ago the neighborhood raccoons did a mob-style hit on our resident crow family’s nest and tore three fledglings to shreds–didn’t even eat them, just left the bodies as a warning. The mourning went on for days, sometimes with thirty or more crows in our tree. I think they’ve earned a happy ending this year.
Thank you so much for this incredibly informative article. I found a baby (pretty well feathered) crow last evening and brought it to my secluded patio on my cat tree where, I thought, it would die in piece. This morning, it had obviously tried to get out of the cat tree and was found shivering and shaking in the mud, barely conscious. I put it in my bathroom, in a box, on a pet heating pad. A couple hours of heat did wonders and I again brought him/her outside to my patio, hoping the parents would find their baby (I know crows are crazy smart). Checking this afternoon, I had prepared myself for a baby crow funeral only to find a very vocal baby wanting to be fed and that’s how I found your article. I have now put Baby’s shoe box on top of a tall bush (we have TON’S of feral cats and when I went out about 20 minutes ago, I got quite the scolding from the parents. I can hear them as I write this, warning anyone away (unfortunately the bush IS on a walkway, but any others are too small or short). Fingers are crossed that this baby will make it. The parents are working overtime in the protection department!
Can’t say I’m convinced your advice is relevant in an urban environment- where the mayority of us lives. i just found a jackdaw that took off and flew right into a lightpole and then bounced off into a window. It was 1:00 am, kiktty rush hour just started and a busy road didn’t help either. No adult seen or heard- this is no novelty find btw. Not the situation to leave a stunned youngster in, whether it’s a bird or a human teenager on his way home from the pub.
So, much to the dismay of my pug his walk was shortened to bring the bird to safety. To make matters worse for my buddy, that awfull screeching black monster is having a sleepover in His dog bicycle trailer, getting attention from His boss and eating His food. Nothing is sacred anymore!
Actually I found out just now it’s a crow, and all he accepts is water from a syringe.
I let it rest and in the morning he didn’t take off, so it took him to the bird shelter. They’ll feed him with syringe, he’s got company.
I could be screwed myself, a couple of crows nesting in the neighborhood already took offense of me walking the dog on the central reservation they claim. I don’t think they witnessed the crownapping but word travels fast;
Hi Basterix, I can’t speak to things like Rooks and Jackdaws (though I would be surprised if it’s much different) because I am less familiar with their population growth in urban areas. I can assure you though that, with respect to American crows, this information is just as relevant in the urban core as it is in suburbia. Yes the anthropogenic dangers are numerous, but dispute these our crow populations are thriving. I’ve seen pairs successfully raise young from a nest built over a freeway. If there was evidence they were in decline I would be more inclined to agree but as their populations are only growing it’s not something we should worry about. That said there’s no reason to not make common sense steps to making urban living safer for all birds (and more attractive to predatory species). And I always support placing a window stunned bird in a box under a bush. I don’t think we need to be subsidizing their population growth but at the same time there’s no need to doom individuals to death if simple and minimally invasive steps can be taken instead. It’s all about balance and I recognize that “the right thing to do” is being more obtuse in the athroposcene.
Fledgling crow in my yard. It walks around but doesn’t attempt to use its wings. My cats are locked up for now, but they are very outdoor cats and will get crazy soon. The parent crows are around and often harass me if I get near. They have been harassing the cats for several weeks. Clearly the nest is nearby.
If I hadn’t seen the fledgling I would have let the cats out and they would have dispatched it quickly. Is there anything I can do, such as putting the fledgling on my roof so the cats can’t get to it?
Hi Dan, thanks for your question. Please don’t put it on your roof, it will just hop off and will likely injure itself coming down. You could try moving it to another part of your yard (maybe the front?) but really if you want to protect this, and other young wildlife, you need to just make your cats suck it up, so to speak, or monitor them while they’re outside. I know people can get really heated when it comes to keeping cats indoors, or making changes to how much free range their pets have. But it’s really in everyone’s best interests, so I urge you to at least entertain the option, at least for the next month or so. It will make them crazy for a bit and then they mellow out. We transitioned our rescued stray to mostly indoor/only monitored outside time, and she’s perfectly happy. Like I said, I’m not trying to rustle your feathers or put you on the defense-as seems inevitable when the topic of outside kitties comes up. I’m just being honest. Unless you’re willing to change how much unrestricted access your kitties have to the outdoors, you’ll just need to accept they’ll be killing wildlife. Best,
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Hi I’m 12 my name is Crystal and I found a baby crow. Sadly I picked it up instead of leaving it outside and now I have a crow to take care of all he drinks is water from this droplet thingy and peep. But he seems big enough to fly around a bit and has feathers he is definitely a crow.he also doesn’t need warmth when he sleeps but tends to peep all day. Help.me.
Hi Crystal! If you google “wildlife rehab” and the name of your city, you’ll be able to find folks that are much better suited to helping you right now. Just find the closest facility and give them a call. They will be happy to walk you through what you need to do to help this baby crow. Good luck!
Hello, I found a crow out in our woods (we have extensive property). He was hopping along the ground and made little attempt to fly. I took care not to touch him with my hands, but I’m concerned that he may be a bird that simply hasn’t learned to fly yet. He put up no fight in being wrapped in a towel and carried with me. He has pale, almost bluish eyes, which seem to suggest a younger age despite his size and smooth plumage. Should I return him to the spot I found him in?
Hi Widdi, yes please do! It’s parents will remain in the areas and more than likely locate it within an hour after you return it.
Thank you, I returned him yesterday. Today I heard quite a lot of cawing, so I assume they found him. My dad told me he was probably blown out of his tree during the earlier storm.
Hello, hope you receive this because I see you have responded to someone this month/year – I had noticed a crow keeping close to my area who was making a lot of noise for the past week or so. I thought maybe she had a nest near by because I’ve never seen one stay around in my immediate area like that. Turns out that was basically what it was. Sunday my neighbor found a baby crow in her backyard, she called animal control who said to put him up high like on a lawn furniture and the mother would get him, not sure what she told them because they said they would come out, she told me they hadn’t yet and it was late. Long story short I think she would probably have hurt him so I took him and put him in my backyard (the parents are definitely around). I put a lawn chaise on top of a table, then put him in it, brought the dogs in then hoped the mother would get him; she didn’t but she was near and knew he was there; he had ended up trying to fly but landed on the ground. Monday (yesterday) the baby had a lot of energy and was bouncing around the retaining wall; thought good the mother will get him. As the day went on she hadn’t come down and he ended up going to the part of my yard that I knew the mother couldn’t get to him without my dogs stopping her. I got him and put him in my front yard that has bushes and tree protection. Mother and father (I’m assuming because there are 2) are making a lot of noise and keeping watch on him from up high. This morning (Tuesday) I hear the baby calling out but haven’t heard the mother yet. Is this normally how long it will take for the mother to finally “rescue” him? Sorry it got wordy but I want you to see the picture of the past days.
Hi Jasmine, I’m happy to help. So mom and dad won’t “rescue” the baby at any point. They’re not like some other animals that can pick up their kids and bring them to new spots. Once a crow fledges the nest, that’s it. There’s no going back to the nest and there’s no mobility assistance from mom and dad. But this is normal, and as you read it is completely normal for it to remain flightless for anywhere from 7-10 days. If it landed in a fenced yard then that’s where it will stay unless it can figure out how to climb out (which they’re actually very good at). Since you put it in your front yard then it has more freedom to move around (maybe from your house to your neighbors…even down the block) but on the ground is where it is meant to stay. If you or your neighbors have free ranging cats or dogs then the best you can do is ask that they please be considerate of wildlife and keep a watchful eye on their pets until the breeding season is over (and preferably forever). Otherwise all you need to do is trust that mom and dad will continue to feed and defend it, but that the statistics are not in its favor and while it would be sad if it died that’s an ok outcome too, and not one you are responsible for. It’s tough to be a baby animal!
Hello, it’s Jasmine – Thanks for your reply, earlier I could hear the baby and it sounded like he had worked his way to near my front (I had left him by my back gate) but hadn’t heard the mother at all. Around 6:30 pm I went to water my front, I checked where I left him and he wasn’t there, I check the area by the entry door and that was indeed where he was, since that is where the spicket is I was careful not to startle him. Mother & father did have their eye on him because they both let me know they were keeping an eye on him, they made lots of noise. After watering, I put a sign on my gate to please do not go in the courtyard. I’ll keep rooting for the little guy.
Thank you, I will now watch from a distance the parents of the baby flightless jackdaw are very attentive. Have made sure all feeders in garden are topped up and plenty of water too.
Hello all! I have recently found a young crow with paralyzed legs! I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking maybe its suffering from stress. but please give me some advice. he was found on the road by me. Obviously kicked out or fallen out the nest. please help me! THANK YOU 🙂
I found an older juvenile crow with a broken healed wing. It will never fly. I’ve raised tons of animals by hand before and he’s doing amazing. He was dying when we found him. It was too hot and there was no accessible food or water. I’d love to keep him alive but I called a couple places and they just said they’d put him down. Any help here?
I do not offer rehab advice but can share the contact information did someone who does: https://corvid-isle.co.uk/
I have found a fledgling crow near my house. Crows are usually nearby the area but I saw none. The crow attempted to fly but only got an inch or two off the ground until it fell down. I watched from a distance to make sure it was ok because there were several cats watching it from across the street. Eventually, I wandered over to see if it was hurt. The crow looked very dirty and patched of its feathers were missing. While waiting for parents to return, the young crow hopped into the middle of the street and lied down. At this point, I carried it back to the bushes but it returned to the road again, so I decided to bring it back to my home (less than a block away).
The crow is in a roomy box outside in the shade and is moving about inside. There are bird seeds and water inside the box as well (which the crow has eaten a bit of). I have called numerous rescues but none have answered. Again, no crows were seen nearby.
If I do not receive a response soon, I am going to take it to a rescue center. However, that means it will be taken far away from the area so I am hesitant to do so.
I do not offer rehab advice but can give you the contact info for someone who can: https://corvid-isle.co.uk/
hey. some idiot had took a baby crow(even though his parents were screaming and trying to stop him) and put him in a yard across the street where he thought he’ll be “safe”. The baby crow couldn’t fly but he had jumped in the street and had a car accident. I took him from the man and got him to vet, his leg is broken and has to stay with me for 10 days before they can remove the split. His parents are still around making noises but I can’t return him right now.
I’m already having many problems with him.He barely eats, and call me crazy but I feel like he wants to kill himself.plus his leg is highly injured but he keeps crawling around with his wings and I’m worried he may hurt himself.
And don’t worry its not illegal to keep crows in my country.
What should I do? should I let him crawl on the ground? should I force him to eat something? Is there a better position to keep him instead of just letting him lay on the ground??
like right now after lots of struggles he got himself to the door (it was opened) and presses his neck under the door and trying to push his heard hard, is he trying to break his neck??!
Hmmm that’s a pickle. Try putting it in an open box outside for a few hours. That will keep it contained but will hopefully offer the parents a chance to feed it. If that works I would keep that up.
Found one today dead in road outside house husband arrived home after work 2 in front garden near road brought it round back garden enclosed it’s parents watching over it and fed
It feel like an anxious mum hopefuly it will be fine… Parent just this second came to feed it so happy.
Any advice on rehabbing a raven? It seems to be paralyzed on half its body but is taking food: hooligan, cucumber, crab, and pineapple. I have it is our chicken coop…no longer have chickens. Thanks.
You should get in contact with the folks at your local wildlife rescue center. You can also contact the folks at Corvid Isle (which is in the UK) as they may be able to field rehab questions, something I am not able to do.
Oh here, is the link to contact them: https://corvid-isle.co.uk/contact
Hi! Me and my parents found a fledgling crow in our front garden this evening, very near to the outside wall, hiding under ivy. I immediately decided to research how to handle the situation, and stumbled across this blog, which helped me a lot (Thank You!). We left out some food and water, which it wasn’t interested in at all, but apart from that we left it alone for a few hours. The parents showed no sign of being around, but everyone said it was normal so we weren’t too worried. However, it soon started to get dark, and our area has lots of foxes in it, which often tear through our rubbish, so we were worried one might hurt the fledgling. I should also mention that our front garden is quite close to a main road, and a lot of drunks pass through, so it isn’t the safest area to be for a fledgling. Because of all this, we decided to move it to a makeshift nest (made out of a fabric bag and some fresh leaves) and hang it up, still in our front garden, but hopefully out of the reach from foxes. However, I’m quite worried that we might have done something wrong. Is everything that we have done so far alright or will it somehow harm the crow or its development? Also, is there anything else we should do?
Thank you for your help!
Everything you did is okay. If it doesn’t survive the night it will be sad, but not your fault. You obeyed best practices and that’s all you can do!
Thank you for the reply! It did survive the night and is currently hopping around in the front garden.
Help, I’ve found a baby crow! |
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Some time ago I came across a baby crow sitting in the middle of an alley down which frequent cars tended to speed. The parents were above the baby on a ledge and cawing. I had to pick up the baby and set it on a ledge near the parents who had become quiet while I did this. Otherwise the baby would have been squished by one of those cars. When I came back down the alley several hours later, parents and child were gone.
Perfect Joanne, that was the right move!
Thank you for this! Just found a baby (didn’t realize it was a baby at first) and now I know what to do.
I witnessed a fledgling baby crow on the ground below its nest before I could get to it the adult parent crows killed it and started to shred and devour eat it. Awful why would they do that?
Hi Linda, if what you say is fact that’s pretty unusual. There aren’t any documented cases of infanticide and cannibalism that I’m aware of. So I need to ask, how are you certain that the bird was 1) a baby crow 2) the attacking birds were crows and 3) they were the parents? I don’t mean to be rude, it’s possible you are very good at identification. But I’ve had similar questions before and after people have sent in photos or videos it’s become clear that, for example, what they thought were crows eating crow eggs were really ravens eating crow eggs. So now I also take care to ask.
At 11pm last friday we found a sevely dehydrated fledgling crow on a very busy Old street london. He has perked up, taken alot of care and clearly wants to try fly. Think he is getting bored now too. He still wants to be fed but is starting to make attempts to feed himself, although not very successfully. Our RSPCA did not accept wildlife due to covid. Also found out the RSPCA kill crows, not good. Now dont know what to do ?
hi Yvonne, reach out to this organization, they will be much more helpful: https://corvid-isle.co.uk/corvid-care
I found this little one in a busy road cars were missing it by inches. I moved him to a bush alongside the road, when I picked him up his wings seemed to work. His parents were very upset at first but calmed down as soon as I backwd away and watched him for about a half hour to make sure he calmed down. I hope I handled it correctly thanls for your post.
You did, thank you Autumn!
I havve found a babay crow fallen from his net so i take him home he doesn’t have his one leg so he limped i keep him one day in my house i feed him mash bread with water because i don’t know what to feed him i give him little water after every feed so now he lost his voice i mean he doesn’t do that type of sound he just did sound like he doesn’t know how to call his parents he just sound like a litle bird very small bird like one chirp please tell me what i do now or what i feed him now
Hi Humza, I’m afraid I don’t offer rehab advice. Please seek out a wildlife rehabber or veterinarian in your area or online.
What should you do you do bring one home then read this
Should you keep it or let it go again
Bring it back to where you found it. Its parents should still be strongly bonded.
It probably was in there somewhere but, we found a baby crow the other day down the paddock. It was alone and had no tail feathers. We ended up picking it up and taking it home since it was most likely to get eaten by a dog or fox by night. Was this a good thing to have done? And if it was or wasn’t how do we make sure it doesn’t depend on us for food or water when it’s older? So it has a chance of living in the wild when it can fly.
Hi Mary, are you in a part of the world where it would make sense to be finding babies right now (the Southern Hemisphere)? Otherwise my guess is your found a very injured adult. I would take it to a listened rehabber straight away otherwise it’s unlikely to survive and more unlikely it will ever fly again.
Help. Baby crows fell when my trees were cut. 2 lived put back in nest and put in another tree. No other crows coming around. They might freeze to death at nite! What do I do
Hi Patty, you did the right thing putting the nest back into a tree. Beyond that I don’t offer read advice here, I’m afraid. I hope their parents came back.
I am so grateful to have found your site! I normally do cat rescue, but encountered my first baby crow yesterday by my patio. My neighbor and I both want to fuss over it. But thanks to your advice, we are leaving it be, I am keeping my cats in, and my neighbor has asked our other neighbors to leash their dogs. Much of your advice is very comforting to me as a cat rescuer: your acceptance that sometimes we can’t fix everything and that nature has a direction of its own that we don’t control. Thank you!!!
I found a young crow because it still has blue eyes but has mostly all its feathers it was in the road being attacked by lots of other crows so I picked it up and brought it home I’ve been feeding it is now eating and drinking it on its own when can I release it.. I do not know if it can fly..
I Sheralyn, unfortunately I do not offer rehab advice here.
I found a young crow on a small open field in my area. He seemed to mostly disregard any danger, and just slowly waddled away from me when I came closer to look if it had any injuries. The parents are still around, just in a tree above the small patch of grass, making noise. Before I did anything, I went home and looked up online what to do. All sources say that I should leave it alone. I fully intend to do so, but I am afraid that the other residents in my area won’t do the research and just pick it up. The bird is in a place which is frequently visited. I am also afraid that a cat will come across the bird, my area has a lot of cat owners who let their cats roam free outdoors. Can I trust the parents to protect it from threats such as cats? And what would be the best course of action to protect the bird from the people in the neighborhood?
Hi Dylan, as far as the cats go there’s not much you can do about that. But as crows populations are quite robust, it’s in their best term interest for you to let them properly learn (or fail to learn) how to manage the invasive predators in their area. As far as the people go, consider making signage that urges people to leave the baby alone. That’s really the best you can do and it’s something I wish communities invested more public service announcements into! Thanks for caring,
Baby crow in garden but dogs in my garden and next garden.mother father and siblings are about will it be ok or will I phone rspca
25 May 2021, baby crow blown out of nest by a gale. Put it in a wicker basket in a tree high enough to keep predators. Parent birds did not feed it for at least two days. I then started hand feeding baby dog food, chicken, egg for two weeks. One month later it is in a run 2m x1m with a covered box with a perch inside. It will only eat dog food from a small bowl (200g a day) and drinks water from a small bowl. It is friendly, but I try not to handle it, it has an injured/deformed leg so hops but does not yet fly, I am hoping it will start to fly and will be able to leave the run.
Thanks for this information. I just found a baby crow today in my backyard. The other crows were scolding me terribly so I figured there was a baby nearby and sure enough. I held it for awhile but it seemed to be very healthy. So thank God, I did what you said to do and put it in some bushes nearby. There aren’t any cars in our neighborhood and dogs are all on leash. I think this baby will do fine as long as the adults continue to protect it.
Good work Meredith!