Andrea’s Crow

Sunde White illustrates an injured crow essay

I’m doing okay.

A few weeks ago my friend Andrea called to tell me about her crow.  She could see him from her bedroom window.  He was living in her neighbor’s yard.  He was hopping up and down and flapping his wings but was unable to take flight.

“I think it’s okay.”  She told me.  “He’s surrounded by other crows and they are bringing him food and it seems like they are watching over him.”

“Oh!” I said.”It reminds me of the doves that live in my light well.  When their babies get old enough they leave the nest but can’t quite fly so they find a good hiding place in my back yard where the parents watch over them and feed them until their wings are strong enough for them to fly away.”

“Do you think it’s a juvenile crow?” Andrea asked. “Because that makes so much sense!”

I Googled about it while she was talking. “Omg, it says right here that they can live in their hiding place for a few weeks before they fly off.” I told her.  “It seems like you don’t have to worry, especially because his family is taking care of him.”

She lowered her voice and told me, “Every day I walk over to give him raspberries and fresh water. Raspberries are his favorite.  At first the crows would squawk at me when I’d be there but now they know I’m trying to help so they just sit quietly watching me.”

“Oh cool! I’ve read that crows identify people that help them and can even recognize them years later.”  I said.

“I hope he chooses my yard to live in.” said Andrea.  “He could share the oak tree with my squirrel.”

A couple of weeks later the crow disappeared from her neighbor’s yard and she didn’t see him until a few days later.

“I’m so worried about my crow.” She told me over the phone. “He’s in a bush in my front yard and his tail feathers look kind of ragged and he’s still having problems flying.”

“Oh no!” I gasped.

She went on. “His family keeps visiting him and bringing him food.  I chased away a kitten from down the street that was bothering him.  He seems fine, he just can’t fly.”

“Did you look up if crows can fly with screwed up tail feathers?”  I asked her.  “Maybe a cat got him and he’s waiting for his feathers to grow back.”

“Ya, I did.”  She said. “It says he won’t be able to fly until they grow back which could be a few months!  I’m scared a hawk could get him!”

“Well the good news is is that his family is still watching over him and he’s safely hidden in the bush.  Does the bush hide him well?”  I asked her.

“Ya, you can hardly see him in there.”

“Oh cool!”  I said.  “Maybe he and his family chose your yard to live in because they trusted you.  You’re so lucky!”

“That’s how I feel!”  she said. “I’m still giving him raspberries and water but it turns out he really loves peanuts.  And I have plenty of peanuts.”

A few months earlier Andrea had confided in me that she had bought a bulk 10 pound bag of peanuts to give to the squirrel living in her oak tree so I knew she had plenty and, to be honest, was always looking for a place to get rid of them so it was good news that the crow was enjoying them.

“What about cold cuts?”  I asked her, remembering how many times I have seen crows gleefully pulling the meat out of sandwiches that had dropped on the ground in the city. “I feel like he needs extra protein to grow strong. He might like some turkey or ham slices.”

“Well his family has started to bring him walnuts that they’ve cracked open and he really likes them.  There must be a tree nearby.”  I was moved at the thought of his crow family picking walnuts, dropping them from a great height and then collecting the shattered nuts to bring to him.

“Oh good, so he’s getting plenty of protein then!” I exclaimed.  “Well, does he seem to be in good spirits?”  I asked.

“Yes!  And his feathers look so shiny and healthy.  Plus I feel like his family would know if he wasn’t going to make it.  They would have stopped helping him by now.”

“I totally agree.”  I said.

“Oh!  Here comes a hawk! I have to go stand out in the yard now!”  Andrea said and then the line went dead.