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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last 4 days, a beautiful young blue eyed crow has been living in my back yard. He's such a heart-breaker- so young and innocent, and not yet afraid of things that he should be afraid of. I think its a fledgling, just out of the nest, that has either been pushed out of its nest on purpose, or flew out of its nest for the first time and became lost.

There are two adult crows around, who `own' this territory (my yard), and 3-4 other nest sites in the general area. We live in the suburbs of an Australian city, but there is bushland close by and a lot of tall, thick trees in our yard.

I've been watching closely for 4 days, and i am certain that the adult crows don't feed it. When it follows them gaping for food, they attack it. But apart from that, they mostly tolerate it, and talk to it a lot, but they don't act like parents. We have seen them raise young before, and they are very good parents. I can only speculate, but perhaps they kicked it out of the nest due to too large a clutch, or its someone else's baby?

It can fly enough to evade attack and find a roost at night, but it lacks confidence and coordination, and only really flies 2-3 times a day, to roost or sometimes when it is startled. Its gets very hungry and thirsty during the day, so i leave minced meat, chicken bones (with meat on them) , and compost scraps for it, and a lot of water around (I leave these things for other birds too) There are plenty of bugs and lizards in the yard, so I hope he's eating them too, but I don't know.

The part that wrenching my heart is I have to leave on holidays in 8 days. I'll be gone for 9 days in total. I'm confident that it will be able to fly, but I'm not sure about its food supply. I have a sinking feeling that the poor little guy is going to die when I'm gone.

He's not tame enough to catch (and I don't want to do that). Also, I'm trying not to interact too much with it, in hope that it will learn from the other crows and become part of their pack.

What I'm wondering is there any kind of food can leave around for it, that will last 9 days? LIke would cat kibble help, or am just fooling myself?

What would you guys do?
 

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hmmm well we have a lot of crows around here...thank god too...pigeon savers :) They would eat just about anything. Now my neighbors are east indians and sometimes they have left over "roti" and they drain it in water, so its soggy and eat able and they chuck it out side, and its gone in less than 5 minutes. You could do the same thing with bread. But that won't work for a long term thing. Hmmm you are here for 8 more days you say. So hopefully by then it will be more matured. Don't worry about it, well you would since you are now some what attached to this single crow. But nature is very weird. I'm sure he'll be fine. Give him a few more days. From the sound of it, he sounds like a pigeon at 3-4 weeks after hatching...just about to be on its own, but still "needs" or i should say "wants" just give him a day. Birds are by far some of the most curious creatures.
 

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I would be worried about it too. We have a family of crows that live with us too :). Oddly, I can hardly distinguish the fledglings from the adults because they don't bring them to our yard until the babies are almost as large as the parents. We have had one exception and it didn't end well for the baby. I will always believe the parents brought it to our yard for safety and told it to stay there. The baby was obviously not well and we tried for days to catch it only succeeding when it got very weak and it died before we could get it to the vet.

Do you have neighbors or relatives or close friends who would mix up a batch of food for him at least every other day? Do you actually see it eat the food you put out for it? I'm hoping the parents are trying to wean it but it still seems suspicious to me.
 

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you can use one of those cat self feeders and put cat food and whole corn in it, but get it before you leave to see if he knows where it is and do the same with the waterer. this may attract other critters also, but atleast he would have some food untill you get back.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for your replies- its amazing to find so many caring and really helpful people on a forum. Thanks!

With regards to the adults, this pair are interesting. They get targeted as hosts for an enormous type of cuckoo that migrates here each year, called `channel billed cuckoos'. They are much bigger than a crow, with huge bills, very much like a horn-bill. The year before last, the crows raised two of them, and last year they raised one, and still managed to raise a couple of young of their own.

When raising cuckoos of such a huge size, I imagine its easy for the parents to become over-stretched. Also, if they are like most cuckoos, they will sometimes boot other family members from the nest.

I don't know if this happened, but it could explain why they are not feeding the baby, and why the orphan keeps following them around gaping.

Today the orphan started begging for food in its roosting tree at about 7 am. It begged for about an hour, but the adults didn't feed it, they just took sme food for themselves. When I came outside and called to it, it was so hungry that it flew eagerly in my direction and face-planted into a bush near to where i was standing. It then spend about 10 minutes trying to climb up the bush into a good position to fly down to the ground (its such an unco little thing). It finally made it to the ground, but what an ordeal!

I fed it mince scraps which it gobbled down hungrily, and then it drank some water in my bird bath.

It spent he next hour foraging near the adult crows, trying to work out what to eat on the ground. He was begging them for food but not getting anything, just a peck when it got too close. After a while he sat in a bush. Its preening itself and looking settled now.

I feel a bit better knowing that he's spending time around crows and observing how they act. He was digging around in the dirt and picking up sticks, kind of mimicking what they were doing.

I will have my fingers crossed that in 8 days he'll be stronger and getting some of his own food. I wish i had a neighbor who could help, but our neighbour doesn't like birds and would never help.
 

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Bella...the way Crows work, is as a family. The young from the previous year remain with the parents to learn how to be parents. For this reason, it seem very odd to me that this little guy has no family about. It's certainly not impossible but unusual for sure.
I'm wondering if they are trying to teach him how to find food. Still, Crows are generally very diligent parents. Dry cat food would be great to feed him.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I bought some dry cat food at the shops today; I'll see if I can get him used to expecting to find it in the same place each day. I really like the idea of leaving a cat food dispenser.

Charis, I don't really understand the adult behaviour towards the young one. Last year they were very attentive to their juveniles, and fed them (as well as their cuckoo child). This one is much younger though- he still has blue eyes and brown feathers. They are acting completely differently.
 

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I was going to mention too to leave out dry cat or dog food in a daily dispensing feeder. They also sell automatic waterers. I would add some apple cider vinegar to the water so it stays somewhat fresh for a few days.
When hungry enough she will find the food sourse, I am sure.
Thank you for caring for this baby. Hope he will be alright.

Reti
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Reti,

Thanks for the tip for keeping water fresh! Thats great to know..

Yesterday the little guy was wandering a lot, and I'm not sure that it will come back to my place. I heard him crying out in distress up the street around mid-day, and I found him in the front yard of a house where a cat lives. That cat sometimes kills the doves in our yard, so I was beside myself with worry.

I coaxed the crow towards my house with some food, but when I tried to give it water, I scared it & it flew across the road over to a park. It tried to fly the length of the park, but only made it half way before landing clumsily. It walked around a bit, and then flew into a tree. It still struggles with lift-off and landing, and lacks confidence. But it looks like it is a day or so away from strong flying, thankfully.

I gave it one more feed in the park before bed time, & left a water container close by. I went home balling my eyes out. Man, its just such a beautiful little bird, and nothing responds to its distress or its pleas for food. Its just so hard to see a little bird in that state. And i feel so conflicted- I know it would be so bad for it if it depends on me; it needs crows and I need to detach. But what if I'm all that's keeping it alive?

Today I am going to do my best to give it a chance to find its own food and take care of itself. I won't let it starve, but I don't want to kill it with kindness either.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
(A Happy) UPDATE:

Well, I totally caved on the idea of not feeding it. It perched in a tree in the park for the entire day, no crows in sight, and no company except for a few swoops from smaller birds. I tried to talk myself into the idea that maybe it was being fed by its parents in stealth or something. But by its cries, I could tell that I was fooling myself. Its such a heart-wrenching sound, its pleas for food.

So I brought it chicken, some minced meat, and left a bowl of water under its tree. It came down for the minced meat, but didn't drink, and it struggled to get down and back into the tree. Its just so young. Before nightfall, I placed minced meat pieces up on a branch and it sidled down and ate them all up hungrily.

I cried myself to sleep last night. I was so worried about going away and it starving. My partner loves my caring nature but he hates seeing me hurting. He was trying to convince me to leave it and let nature take its course. But I am woman, he is man. Its in my blood to love, and protect, and care for the gentle, helpless things. I can't stop myself, unless I could find a reason that it was wrong to do it. And I can't.

I found it again this morning, not in the park any more but on a road-side tree. It didn't come down for food, lacking confidence in flying and not having a great place to land. I left the food, but it didn't come down to eat it.

It was raining this afternoon, and I went looking for it. I heard its cries, and looked around for it.

Then the most amazing thing happened. A person who lives in a house ajoining the park called out ot me, and asked if I need an umbrella. I told him what I was doing there and he said he had been looking after it too! He even has a name for it:) I told him I was so relieved because I'm going on holidays, and he said he loves birds too and he would be looking out for it.

Now I feel much better! I will still care for it, and it won't die when I go away! Maybe there is hope that when it can fly it will join the other crows.

That guy is my saviour. Thank God for animal lovers. They are the best people in the world.
 

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Personally Bella...I would collect the bird, bring it inside and feed it really well and get some weight on it and figure it out from there. I know you are going away but maybe your neighbor could intervene in that way. I just don't think it's ready and it does seem like it is an orphan.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Charis,
Its a good idea, but it is not a tame bird, and it likes to be high up in the tops of tall trees now. When I throw it food on the ground, I cross to the other side of the park for it to come down. I thought that taming a crow could destroy its chances of re-socialising into crow culture? I'd have to tame it to catch it, and thats the problem. Or do you think I should try? I'm scared of doing the wrong thing.
 

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Bella...it's such a hard call. If it's not tame at all and wary of humans, I guess it's best to leave it be. This really tugs at my heart too and I understand why you are so worried about him.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh Charis, thanks for your understanding! I've been in agony, and I consider myself pretty strong, kind of. I think I just can't stand to see something so beautiful, and needy, and curious be abandoned like that. I don't understand.

The local crows talk to it at least, especially in the morning; there seem to be 3 major families within vocal range. I really hope it can join one of those families when it can fly confidently. Crows can be good like that.

The park is a pretty safe area, that's where it is sitting now. Actually its in that man's yard, which is better. he saud he's been feeding it chicken and minced beef too, like me. Maybe it will grow fast, if we can just keep it eating.
 

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Bella,

Where EXACTLY is this crow located? I'll be happy to post the location and information on my crows list in case any of those members happen to be in the area and can help look out for this bird.

Bless you for your care and concern for this bird! I don't have any easy answers for you, but it IS encouraging that you have found another person who is looking after this bird.

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you so much Charis for the links, I am trying to learn everything I can. I am so eager to make the best choices regarding its wellbeing.

TAWatley,
This is an Australian `Torresian' Crow; I am in Australia. Do you know anyone here in Australia who could help? I am in Brisbane, in QLD Australia. It is probably more like what Americans would call a raven, due to its size; I think John Gould initially classified all Australian crows as `ravens ' because they are all quite big.

We have a wild-life rescue organisation called wires, but they don't look after abandoned birds because there are so many. They normally only take in injured animals and marsupials. If it were starving, they might help though (lets hope it doesn't come to that).
 

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Thanks for the info, Bella. I'll get it onto my crows list and a couple of others. Years ago, a good internet friend of mine was a rehabber associated with WIRES. Sadly, she kinda dropped off the planet .. haven't heard from her in several years. I'll see what I can do to rustle up some help for your crow.

Terry
 
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