American Crow Family

[These photos were shot from indoors, through a window, with my m.zuiko 100-400mm lens]

This is the second year we’ve had the pleasure of watching a local crow family grow from nestlings into spirited, flighted teenagers. This photo shows one of the juveniles raised in the trees behind our place.

Both youngsters are now flying well, but they’re never far from their parents. Their vocalizations and begging cut through most of the ambient, daytime noise. They’re still learning their way around the neighborhood, and losing some of the youthful blue in their eyes.

Blue eyes of a young crow

You can see the difference between the photo on the left (juvenile) and the one on the right, which is one of the parents. Baby crows have vivid blue eyes that gradually transition to their adult color. They also have pink at the base of the beak (gape) and inside the mouth, which also darkens as they get older.

It’s been such a privilege having a view to these babies from their first vulnerable days on the ground as fledglings, to their first flight (huge relief), to their new life in the trees and sky, gaining skills and understanding by the day. They’re still gawky at times with their perching and balance. They’re still learning how to make a quick and deft escapes to the trees if a person or dog comes by. Their persistent, whining hunger calls worry me at times because — if you’ve ever heard them — they sound like big trouble alarm calls when, in fact, they’re just begging mom and dad for food.

There was one fantastic incident early on that sticks with me. On the day the second fledgling took flight and landed in a tree for the first time, a huge flock of crows flew in shortly after. They filled every tree and filled the sky with excited chatter. I said to Hugh, do they somehow know this baby took flight and came in for a send off? The timing was that perfect.

It was the only day this flock showed up, and I loved the coincidence of that crow party. It felt celebratory and as happy as I felt knowing that baby was now safely flying and off the ground.

American Crow Juvenile Photos

Juvenile Crow Begging from Parent
Juvenile Crow walking on fence

American Crow juvenile begging from parent

Juvenile crow begging from parent

American Crow parent feeding juvenile

Juvenile Crow with Parent
Juvenile Crow with Blue Eyes

One of the juvenile crows, a week later …

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