At last count, Super Hub and I have ten corvids house and yard mates: Gwen, Stephen Crowbert, and Leftover Bird in the backyard; Caledonia in the house; and four crows and two blue jays on the sun porch. But here’s the even better news: I don’t have eleven crows, thanks to the heroic efforts of Super Samaritan Sam, who did not bird nap a nestling crow.
Our Super Samaritan works at a pet store and knows a thing or two (or three or four….) about crows. So he was delighted when a couple decided to build their nest in the lettering of the store next door. One might question the wisdom of building a nest on the facade of a store in a medium-sized shopping center over a pavement sidewalk but in all fairness to Mama and Papa Crow, the dumpster diving must be pretty terrific. And there’s a Starbucks across the parking lot. ‘Nuff said.
So all was going swimmingly until one of the chicks lost its balance, or got overly ambitious, or got shoved by a sibling. Whatever the cause, he fell out of the nest, landing spread-eagle on the pavement. SS Sam pick up the critter and did not shove him in a box and take him to an animal shelter. Smart move number one. He then decided to return the baby to the nest. Smart move number two. Then he called a rehabber (me) to confer. Smart move number three (although any rehabber would have fit the bill).
Here’s a photo of our subject:
Let’s review what we know so far:
- Our Swan-diver is a crow nestling, as indicated by the baby down on his wing, the bald patch on his chest other wing. Therefore, mistakes were made and his departure from the nest was premature;
- He is standing and gripping Super Samaritan’s fingers, so no broken leg;
- He’s holding his wings against his body and there is no drooping, so wings are also OK.
- His beak bled a little bit upon impact but was not damaged. A job for a topical disinfectant to make sure any wound doesn’t get infected.
- He seems strangely docile and mellow for a crow, which would be consistent with having a concussion, something that happens when skull meets pavement. The cure is time and supportive care.
- Conclusion: Aside from a sore beak and being dazed, SD is fine. But he is too young to be on his own. He needs care, a job best performed by his parents. Thus the best option is put him back in the nest.
It is at this point that Super Samaritan Sam when into heroic mode, finding a ladder and managing to put Swan Diver back in the nest while the parents flew around, swooped, and raised holy hell because predators (e.g. anything bigger than they are) are not in the habit of putting vulnerable chicks back in the nest. But humans are, all told, an odd lot, with the result that the errant chick was returned to the nest no worse for the wear. His parents delivered a double mocha latte (or the corvid equivalent) a few minutes later.
Thanks to Super Samaritan Sam for a nestling story with a happy ending and for keeping the corvid population of our humble abode (sort of) reasonable.