The Park Crows’ offspring showed up early this year, the first of June to be exact. I am certain in previous years I never saw a youngster before late July or August. I wonder if it has to do with the increased population; perhaps the parents have more support and it’s easier to get the job done. Weather might not affect the city crows so much as there’s a pretty reliable food supply and a lot of available nesting spots.
I managed to get a shaky video of a fledgling crow being weaned. I apologize for my lack of expertise, but I did get great views of the bright red inside of its mouth, which for all practical purposes says “food goes here.”
The juveniles are about the same size as the parents but their plumage is browner and they behave like youngsters. Although they stop their whiny begging, their voices remain higher in pitch for a year or so.
The Crows are relaxed with my presence so it is easier to observe them. Years ago I was lucky if I caught a glimpse of a fledgling; more often than not I would hear it but not see it. I can remember a specific instance when I found juveniles over by the park just north of Buckingham Fountain. I put food down under a tree, and the kids came right over, only to be scolded by their parents and whisked away. I didn’t see them for weeks. I envisioned the adults taking the juveniles off to Crow Training Camp, indoctrinating them to remember their naturally cautious, wary behavior. Now, years later, while I maintain a respectful distance, the crows tolerate my presence, and we are all very quiet about it.
As for the youngsters, I wouldn’t be surprised if my imprint is in their genes. The Crows remain cautious of people they don’t know. Unless they’re making a lot of noise about something they generally go unnoticed, I’m sure.