Friday, May 19, 2006

CARING FOR CROWS

From Connie, a SBWCN volunteer with many years of experience:
I got my first baby crow yesterday, 5/11, which means it's time to send my yearly baby crow call letter to the Center. You should be receiving lots of calls (and lots of baby crows!) from May 15th through early July, so would you please forward my suggestions to everyone tending the Helpline and the front desk?

My advice runs counter to the easy answer that baby crows should be left on the ground for the parents to feed, but I rehabbed an average of 160 baby crows a year for 20 years, so have a good idea of which crows are going to make it on the ground and which are going to die if they aren't brought in for help.

Questions to ask when receiving a baby crow call:

1. Is it a baby or injured adult?
Check for eye and mouth color--babies have blue or grey eyes, pink to red mouth
Adults have brown to black eyes, some black to all black in mouth
If it is an injured adult, it needs to come in for rehab.
If it is a baby, ask

2. What is the length of its tail?

The shorter the tail, the more necessary it is the bird be brought it. One, two, three inches, the bird definitely needs to be brought in as it will be too many days before it flies for the parents to feed adequately on the ground. If the tail is 4 inches, it may need to come in. If the tail is 5 inches, the bird looks sleek and mature (a fledgling), ask

3. Are there obvious predators in the area and are the parents in attendance?

If there are dogs or cats stalking the bird and it can't fly, bring it in
If there are no parents guarding or feeding it, bring it in (crows can't self feed until 2 weeks after they start flying)
If no predators and the parents are involved, ask

4. Are there any obvious wounds, illnesses, or broken bones
Mouth should be bright pink (pale mouth = anemia/internal injury, yellow=trich)
Any open wounds or growths (injury or pox)
Does one wing or leg droop or not work like the other (broken bones)
If there is stool on the ground, is it healthy (white=urine/inadequate food, dark green or black=starvation and/or organ damage)
If the bird appears healthy on the ground, it is still wise to pick it up to check condition

5. Pick bird up (you can replace it to the same spot or put it in a safer spot nearby, usually up in a bush, and the parents will return to feeding after you've left)
Is breast bone well padded or is it sharp (breast bone runs the length of the chest and should be well padded on both sides--if emaciated/knife like, the bird needs to come in)
Do you get any mites on your hands when you pick him up (most don't, but if has mites, needs to be treated)
Does he grip your fingers with his toes (baby crows don't bite, and it doesn't hurt if they do, but a healthy crow will grip tightly with its feet and you'll have to pry its feet off to remove)

Only those babies passing all of these tests should be left on the ground. Babies left too long will either die or come in another day in much worse shape.

These same guidelines apply to all baby bird calls, with some variation in tail length, mouth color, etc., but baby crows are often the most difficult for callers to figure out because they are so large that people think they look like adults rather than babies.

Once in the center, try to keep baby crows together in groups of two or three, the same social setting as if they were in a nest (avoid isolation or overcrowding). They need to be fed massive amounts of food compared to other babies, so keep checking keel bone and stool color to make sure you're keeping up with their caloric needs (again, in a cage of two to three crows, you can keep better track of changes in stool color or keel bone). Crows can be very hard to feed, often need to be caught individually, wrapped in a towel and force fed with several short breaks during each feeding round, and even then they have a tendency to toss half of it out (and all over you). Hang in there though, feed, feed, feed, and 95% of the babies you get in will make it!

Please feel free to call me (phone number on request) if you have any questions. My longer piece on feeding and housing should be in your files somewhere....

Thanks,
Connie

36 Comments:

At 5/20/2006 8:00 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Yes we have crows at the center too. I LOVE feeding them!!!!! They apreciate it soooo much, and their mouths are ezer to hit that the baby brown birds. they are the only bird I know that tries to talk and eat at the same time...sounding like they are being drown!;-}
Talk to you soon...

 
At 5/21/2006 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you're back, wildlife blog. How about some care tips on other species?

 
At 5/22/2006 10:55 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Hello to everyone. We are having a mammal training workshop for which you will receive training credit as continuing education from Fish and Wildlife. The workshop will be held on June 17, Saturday from 1- 4 p.m. at Nancy Callahan's located at 1560 NO. Ontare. Please RSVP to me by e-mail or phone so we can be prepared. Nancy Callahan, Jackie Darbyshire, Pam Christian and Dawn Summerlin will be sharing information and handling techniques on raccoons, skunks and opossums.
We are in the middle of baby season here at the Center. We have finches, sparrows, and crows as well as a yellow-billed magpie, bushtits, mockers and jays. We can always use help at the Center. Please give us a call and we can put you on the schedule. We have set up an aviary built on our existing deck space and are completing a new storage. shed.
If anyone is going to the Bay area we have supplies being donated and need transportation, contact the Center for more details. Thank you all for all your help and support.
Julia Parker, Director of Animal Affairs, SBWCN

 
At 5/22/2006 10:57 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

I'm going...I can never learn too much about our furry little neighbors!
What other classes would you guys like? Anybody out there wanting to help rehab opossums?!?!?

 
At 4/01/2009 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! I know this post is REALLY old but hopefully someone will see it! I have an adult crow I found with a broken leg (at least) In this town there are NO wildlife rehab centers, only a game warden who was sympathetic but said since he's not equipped to handle broken bones in birds that he would probably just put the animal down. The crow is eating and alert, but cant even hop around. Is there any hope or should I let the game warden take him? I'm located in wyoming and I have the time to care for this bird if theres a chance for him to make it. Thank you!
powerpanther@gmail.com

 
At 4/21/2009 4:44 PM, Blogger Wesley said...

We removed 5 baby ravens/crows from a sign on the side of our building today. Had too. I took the nest and put in a field nearby and made a makeshift shelter to try to keep the sun off. I'm worried the parents won't come back to feed their young. These birds barely have any feathers.

 
At 6/26/2009 10:36 AM, Blogger kelly said...

hi I have a baby crow under my tree I picked him up and im sure his leg is broken,it is almost the same when u turn your hand palm side up ,he can not stand on it.The mother is activly watching him and got quite upset when i picked him up to have a look .my question is ,should I attempt to care for this baby ? and what can i do for him ? If i leave him alone and just keep an eye out for preditors will he be able to live a normal life with his foot that way ?Please any help needed I feel so sad for the little guy

 
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At 7/21/2010 5:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QUESTION: It's summer nearly 95+ everyday and I have observed a group of crows at the lake where I take lunch. I've noticed that they always stand around with their mouths open. Always. I find this interesting and was just wondering if anyone knew why? Does it have to do with the heat? Sense of smell? etc. Thanks

 
At 10/12/2010 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologise, but, in my opinion, it is obvious.

 
At 4/15/2011 2:06 AM, Blogger lereneconwell said...

Help, Can anyone give me some advice. Five days ago, I found what I think is crow fledgling, on the ground being pecked by adult crows. It had a small puncture wound under each wing and peck marks across its back and a spot of blood on its beak. Now all appears to be healing ok. From being force fed,it is now eating mince meat if I place it at its feet. Tonight I was checking underneath its wings and I discovered what seems to be a swelling underneath one wing on its body. It is quite large approx 1 inch x 2 inches and I am not sure whether it is filled with air or fluid. If I pressed, it deflates or goes back into its body. When the bird cheeps or exhales, it puffs up again. This air or fluid appears to be a bubble just underneath the skin. Can anyone advise me what it could be and is there anything I can do about it. The bird does not seem to be too distressed by it. This bubble seemed to appear only from this morning.

 
At 6/01/2011 12:03 AM, Anonymous justin said...

plz call me 916-896-9343 i found a young crow and not sure whats needs to be done, saved it from cat last night so need help

 
At 6/11/2011 8:44 PM, Blogger ralpher45 said...

i found a baby crow in my back yard...and i have it in a safe place..but it wont eat much..the parents are around some what..but dont seem to be doing much...i tried giving it water..but didnt have much..and it only ate a little bread...i felt its chest area..and it was knife like...and i clings to my fingers but its not hard to get it off...any suggetions>?

 
At 6/11/2011 8:46 PM, Blogger ralpher45 said...

i found a baby crow in my yard...it has like no tail..it has a sharp chest..its not hard for me to get it off my fingers when its talons are clinging to them...it wont eat much bread..or drink much water..its parents are around but dont seem to be doing a whole lot...helppppp

 
At 6/22/2011 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting. I found an adult greckel who was disoriented and injured. I rested him, then took him to a few animal rescue places. First was too busy, second one offered to take him to rehab.
I do appreciate your posts.
David

 
At 4/08/2012 4:40 PM, Blogger Cal said...

I found a baby crow. baby has a broken wing. Its sunday and all the places i called were closed. Need advice on where is there as wildlife place open on sunday and if they come pick up at the house.

 
At 4/25/2012 4:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you live? My mom and I know a very good bird rehabilitator, and whenever we find baby birds, she gives us advice on how to care for them. We might be able to help!

 
At 6/04/2012 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connie, can you give me a buzz? I am feeding a crow that seems to be doing well except the crow is losing hair. The crow was losing hair when I found it 5 days ago. I think it is dietary.

425-319-0892

 
At 6/06/2012 5:27 PM, Blogger Bradlyrc said...

I have a baby crow in my yard. it seems OK maybe a little thin. I heard the mother once and have not heard anything since. When should I intervene? e mail me when you get a chance. bradlyrc@gmail.com. Thanks

 
At 7/02/2012 5:54 AM, Anonymous midwives arizona said...

I like feeding them too. I enjoy doing that job.

 
At 10/13/2012 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, we've just found a crow. It's eyes are a light brown color and it appears healthy. Although it dosnt want to eat or drink. Is it ok to give it cooked steak? And also should we leave it outside in a box? It is unable to fly and was found on its own on the ground.

 
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At 5/30/2013 9:20 PM, Blogger citizenRB said...

I am sorry but this blog is not being followed or updated. (Password has been lost.) Please follow Connie's advice and if you have a crow with serious injuries or one very young, bring to a wildlife rehabilitation place.

thanks for caring!

 
At 5/30/2013 9:22 PM, Blogger citizenRB said...

Ummm, sorry, not just "serious injuries" but any obvious injuries!

 
At 5/30/2013 9:22 PM, Blogger citizenRB said...

I am sorry but this blog is not being followed or updated. (Password has been lost.) Please follow Connie's advice and if you have a crow with serious injuries or one very young, bring to a wildlife rehabilitation place.

thanks for caring!

 
At 6/06/2013 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey theres a baby but its beaks bfokdn n its tongue is sticking out its flapping about but cant move its head?? What to do

 
At 7/26/2013 7:59 PM, Blogger Vibhor Sharma said...

Hi, I have got a baby crow which fell from a tree, its eyes are not open yet, please tell me how many days will it take to open its eyes...

 
At 7/28/2013 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been watching a fledgling crow the last week around my bird feeders. One of its legs and or feet is injured and it walks with a limp. yesterday it sat on the ground in the rain but flew weakly away when approached. My dilemma is I want to help this bird because It appears to be getting weaker and the family has lost interest. It has been stationary all day. any advice would be appreciated

 
At 7/30/2013 9:18 PM, Blogger Marlena Krol said...

I found a baby crow ..he is relatively big. He has feathers but can't fly. He is really quiet. He was next to the street. I looked around if his parents were in the area but I didn't hear the parents or him calling. I read on few pages that some baby birds shouldnt drink water and I do not know what to feed him and how often . Its late at night and I don't know what to feed him therefore I just made him a comfortable setting and I wanted to go out and buy him worms in the morning. Is there anything else other then food that I should know ...and since two weekd after they learn to fly they just learn to feed on their own what should I do to help him learn to eat by himself

 
At 7/30/2013 9:18 PM, Blogger Marlena Krol said...

I found a baby crow ..he is relatively big. He has feathers but can't fly. He is really quiet. He was next to the street. I looked around if his parents were in the area but I didn't hear the parents or him calling. I read on few pages that some baby birds shouldnt drink water and I do not know what to feed him and how often . Its late at night and I don't know what to feed him therefore I just made him a comfortable setting and I wanted to go out and buy him worms in the morning. Is there anything else other then food that I should know ...and since two weekd after they learn to fly they just learn to feed on their own what should I do to help him learn to eat by himself

 
At 6/29/2014 12:02 AM, Blogger Howard Nye said...

Connie, can you please call me? I found a baby crow who I think needs to be cared for and I'd like help doing so.

My e-mail is: hnye@ualberta.ca
My number is: 780-996-2882

Thanks so much!
Howard

 

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