Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help? title=
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?
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Source: SBWCN

Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) cares for hundreds of American crows every year, making  them one of the most common avian patients that the Center receives.  A majority of these crows arrive as nestlings and fledglings during the months of May and June, and SBWCN has been experiencing a large influx of these crow patients in recent weeks. Unfortunately, many of these crows are mistakenly brought to SBWCN by well-meaning citizens when they’re not actually in need of care.

Crow fledglings spend a lot of time on the ground before they’re ready to fully fly, which, to the unknowing person, can appear concerning. However, while these young crows are building up their strength to fly, they will leave the nest and hop around on the ground for about one to two weeks. During this period, the crow’s family will still monitor the fledgling, bringing it food and protecting it from potential predators. While it may appear this crow is helpless because it cannot fly, this stage is perfectly normal and necessary for its development. 

Young crows can be distinguished by their bright blue eyes and pink mouths. Crows live in family groups, with multiple birds assisting in raising the young. The adult crows are fiercely protective and are capable of fending off a number of predators to keep their young safe. If citizens encounter a young crow on the ground, SBWCN encourages them to observe the bird from a distance before making any efforts to capture it. 

How can you determine if a young crow is in need of care? Here are some obvious signs:

  • You witnessed the bird get injured (i.e. it was attacked by a predator, fell from a high nest, etc.)

  • The bird has visible injuries (i.e. blood, asymmetrical wings, etc.)

  • The bird has no feathers or its eyes are closed (it is too young to be out of the nest). 

Like every animal, the best case scenario for a young crow is to stay in the care of its parents. Due to crows’ unique social structure, they have a much higher chance of survival when they can stay under the protection of their original family group in the wild. SBWCN only wants to intervene if a bird is injured or truly orphaned. When in doubt, citizens should always call the Wildlife Care Network Helpline for advice and instruction: (805) 681-1080.

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Andrea Smith May 25, 2021 04:12 PM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

I made this mistake once about 6 years ago! I thought it was injured and took it inside for the night until I could reach someone at wildlife care which I did the next day and they explained this to me! I felt awful so I put the bird back outside and it's mom literally dive bombed me every day for like 3 months when I'd walk to my car to go to work! I learned alot from that haha.

a-1621904512 May 24, 2021 06:01 PM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

My neighbor puts out dry cat food to feed stray cats, and the crows get most of it. We asked her to stop, and now she won’t talk to us.

Jeff4510 May 24, 2021 09:52 AM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

I love birds but crows are awful. Many states still have open crow season all year around due to them being pests and taking over the smaller native bird’s territories. Don’t feed them or help them. We could use a lot less crows

Minibeast May 24, 2021 10:31 AM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

JEFF. MAY 24, 2021 09:52 AM. If you love birds, native birds, you should care more about killer cats and the damage they do to bird populations:--------"Cats #1 Threat to Birds
In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. Although this number may seem unbelievable, it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats. Each outdoor cat plays a part." (American Bird Conservancy)----------In my neighborhood Crows often protect the other birds from cats.--------But I do agree: DO NOT feed the Crows. Or if you must, PLEASE don't feed them peanuts in the shell or bread or anything else the Crows can drag into birdbaths to muck up the water.

a-1621870215 May 24, 2021 08:30 AM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

Way too many crows in SB. Many feed on pet food placed outside. Our neighbor must go through pounds of it because I've watched a couple of crows completely empty a bowl full of dog food. Scotty, their dog stands by and watches it happen, likely because he knows the bowl will be refilled with fresh stuff.

Minibeast May 24, 2021 10:22 AM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

MAY 24, 2021 08:30 AM ------Your neighbor isn't too savvy about wildlife. Or dog care. I hope, at least, that the dog food is of good quality, so that Scotty's and the Crows' health isn't being compromised.

RockwellBAD2 May 23, 2021 08:42 PM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

Excellent information. A huge Thank You to SBWCN.!!! I’m so pleased they posted the information about baby/young crows. Not all of us like crows but they oh her an important part of our ecosystem. They are very intelligent, sometimes a pest, but nonetheless valuable. I hope that this information gets to as many people as possible. If you have a means to help disseminate the information, please do so.

mtndriver May 23, 2021 06:24 PM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

This is really useful! Had a baby crow on the ground here just a couple weeks ago and we were all in a tizzy about what to do. There were about 50 adult crows who definitely did not want us to interfere. Someone put the fledgling in the crook of the tree the nest was in, which someone who supposedly knew said was the thing to do. It was gone the next day, but the adults have been pretty noisy any time anyone on our block goes outside now, telling us to mind our own business, probably.

notme May 23, 2021 06:09 PM
Baby Crows: Do They Actually Need Your Help?

We had this happen just this past week. We thought the bigger crows were harassing the smaller one, which was hopping around in our backyard. They were flying all over the place, and making quite a racket. We even talked about calling Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, but eventually, the fledgling was able to fly on its own. Fascinating!

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