Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16: Begging Crow

I could hear the cawing outside my office window for a while before I finally got up to see what was going on out there. As soon as I saw the two birds, that incessant calling made sense. On the lawn a juvenile crow was begging from an adult bird. If it hadn't been begging, I might not have recognized it as a "young of the year." It was just as large as the adult, but a little bit of red gape still overhung the smooth edge of its bill, giving it away as a youngster. Also, it was close enough that I could see its eyes were still blue-grey, unlike the dark eyes of the sleeker-looking adult that appeared to be studiously ignoring this big, loud crow baby despite being closely followed by it.

The whining of hungry young creatures seems universally understood. There was no mistaking what that bird wanted. I have heard them beg and cry on the lawn like that for half an hour at a time. Crows are a very family-oriented bird. Because they don't reach full maturity until around four years of age, young from past years will hang around and help raise their parents' young of subsequent years. The family group around my office seems to contain about half a dozen birds, probably of varying ages. The adult being harassed by this young crow may not have been one of its parents, but could have been an older sibling.

I was hoping to see the adult eventually feed the bird--surely the impulse to shut it up by stuffing some food down its throat must have been strong. But they soon noticed me watching from the window and flew off.

Even I want to
respond to the begging crow,
quiet it with food.

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