An Injured Crow

I have many bird visitors daily to my feeders. The past few days a crow has been visiting. This crow is beautiful, younger but this crow is injured. And it makes me so sad to see the bird limp. =(

You can see him/her nursing its leg. =(

The crow didn't fly away like most do when I get too close. It is injured and worried but I was not hasty in approaching it.

I made some calls to the local wildlife organization to see if they could help. If you find an injured crow (or any bird) or an abandoned nest or hatchling (baby bird), you can call or visit the website of national organization to find your local facilities:

When in doubt, just call your local humane society and ask what to do or who to call. They should be able to help direct you to the appropriate people to contact. If you really can't figure out anyone to call, write me at crowgyrls at gmail dot com. I will find someone for you to call. My local wildlife organization told me to see if I can catch the crow and bring it in. They recommended using a towel or a sheet. Crows are nervous by nature (and rightfully so). It may take a bit to catch them, if you can at all. If the crow can fly, they will probably evade you. And crows have an amazing memory and can teach their young to avoid particular people. So, be prepared to be the bad guy for awhile. Perhaps permanently. It is not for the faint of heart, helping transport a crow to an animal hospital or wildlife facility. I will let you know how this goes...

Crows and ravens can nest as early as February

The Crow's Nest.jpg
The Crow's Nest.jpg by Tony Margiocchi (Snapperz)

Most birds start to nest in the late spring and throughout summer but there have been observations of crows and ravens nesting as early as February. According to these observations,1
  • American crow: Allen Larner observed adults nest building on Feb. 23, 2000, and Feb. 21, 2005, both in Staunton. American crows live on territories the year round in family groups of 2-10 birds. Adults and young of the previous year may assist in raising the young of the newest brood.
  • Common raven: Our earliest breeding record is a pair carrying nest material on Feb. 3, 2008, at Fishersville. Beth and Harry Lumadue made this observation. It was on a large billboard. They kept close track of the nest and discovered eggs on Feb. 28.
  • Allen Hale discovered another nest with eggs on Feb. 28, 1988, at the quarry on Statler Boulevard in Staunton. It was unusual to find a raven nest right in town.
Now is as good as time as any to put out things in your yard for the birds to find to make nests. Twigs, scraps of light material, etc. But please as always it is important to not let plastic bags end up all over the place. Recycle them properly or better yet, commit to not using plastic. Use your own reusable canvas bags, most grocery stores offer them for like $1 and you can use them time and time again. Or use paper. Plastic is so detrimental to birds not to mention the entire plastic island that is accumulating in the middle of the ocean. =( *jumps off soapbox*
  1. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20110202/SPORTS/102020330/1006/SPORTS []

Common Ravens and Egg

Common Ravens and Egg Originally uploaded by poecile05
This is the second raven baby/egg photograph and post. Thanks to the photographer, poecile05, for sharing this on flickr and allowing us to blog it. If you read yesterday's post, you know how much a baby raven can and must consume. I shared with you a small part of a book I read, "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich. The high maintenance baby ravens don't stop with just a need for attention and an enormous amount of food. They also require some special attention to see to their "bathroom" needs, if you will. You may recall from yesterday's post that nestlings eat A LOT of food. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yep! That is right. Almost every amount that goes into the baby ravens must come out. Since they can't lift themselves up to hang over the side of the nest for at least a couple of weeks, their parents must take care of this expediently. Remember, if they eat six woodfrogs and two mice IN ONE FEEDING, then you can imagine how much waste that much food produces after EACH and EVERY FEEDING! They would quite literally be drowning in a bowl (their nest) full of their own liquid dung (also known as 'mutes'). In order to prevent this from happening, the parents scoop up the "mute" with their beaks as it is coming out and dumps it over the side of the nest. They are the equivalent of live pooper-scoopers. Not so fun, not so simple. Imagine how much time this takes and then recall how much food they need. You can see clearly how much time parenting takes in a raven's life. We are lucky as humans that we only need to go to the local grocery store to obtain food for our young. Imagine the raven's life...

Common Raven Nestling and Egg

I found this photograph on flickr as well (my new favorite place to find great corvid pictures!) and I had to share it. Look at them! They are soooooooo cute. They look like baby dinosaurs. While I have your attention, let me share a little story about baby ravens with you. I discovered this stuff while reading "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich. In case you are debating on whether you should check it out, you definitely should. Back to my point... When ravens are babies, also known as nestlings, they require an enormous amount of food and parental care. Ravens need a lot of protein to grow healthy and strong. In his book, "Mind of the Raven", Heinrich tells us what he fed six nestlings at about five weeks of age: Day One: One woodchuck and one snowshoe hare Day Two: Three red squirrels, one chipmunk, six frogs, eight chicken eggs (crunched up shells and all) Day Three: Two gray squirrels, five frogs, six eggs, six mice Day Four: One hindquarter of a Holstein calf That is ALOT of food! OMG! He goes on to describe how a few days later EACH of the nestlings could eat six woodfrogs and two mice IN ONE FEEDING! And then they'd be ready in an hour or two to eat the same amount! This is outrageous. Now, I feel infinitely guilty for only feeding them two pieces of bread. Goodness! Young Ravens needs A LOT of care, food, and attention. Our hats go off to the raven parents. And we highly suggest you DO NOT take baby ravens as domestic pets unless you have an enormous amount of time, energy and determination and the resources needed to provide the adequate diet needed for them. I will write more about nestlings and fledglings in future posts, keep your eye out for them!