injured crow, banded crow.

By Jamie Lutton

by Jamie Lutton

A few days ago, walking to work in this awful cold spring we are having, I had a big fat crow fly down from the South area to land at my feet. This could even be the same crow who had walked me to work for years. I threw him a treat.. then suddenly he was joined by a smaller crow, that landed close to him. This crow, possibly his mate, was heavily favoring one leg.  I put down on the ground several dog biscuits, and watched the second crow stop to eat one, before ferrying them away to a hiding place. I noticed that she continued to limp, and flew with the injured leg tucked up. When she landed on a wire overhead, she clung to the wire with one leg. I left the pair a pile of treats, for them to eat later.

I knew that unless she was very lucky, this little crow would not live very long.  Unless her mate fed her, she would not make it through next winter.   It has been four days now, and I have not seen her since. I know that wild birds have a high mortality rate, but it was sad to see her hurt like this, and not be able to do anything. These birds had flown about my head, and overhead, in acrobatics for me, when they saw me, in the winter. I wanted them all to live a very long time.

Later that day, I saw a crow, further along my route, encounter a dog biscuit for the very first time. I had just gotten my coffee, and this crow landed on a railing outside a restaurant, and stared me with those cupboard love eyes that crows have, when they want you to give them some food.  (you know that look; dogs and cats have this look mastered). So, I threw him one treat, then another, as he stood in the gutter. He picked up one treat, then tried to pick up the other. He could not hold both at once, as he had had no practice doing so. So, he picked up one, then tried to pick up the other, then the other, then the one, while he kept dropping them both. It was hysterical to watch, as he could not figure out how to carry both, and did not want to leave one behind.  I then threw him a third.  He at that point sort of sighed, ate the third one, stared at the other two, grabbed one of them, and flew off, leaving one behind.  He seemed like a young crow, a bit skinny, who had not figured out the balancing act necessary for carrying more than one treat.

I like to reward crows who get close to me; landing at my feet, or landing on objects that bring them to eye level. I want them to get close to me, so I can look at them close up.  My eyes are not that good, and I have not the forethought (or money) to buy binoculars.

I did see something that has me wondering, yesterday.  One nice fat crow near my coffee stand has been banded. The right leg had a blue band, the left leg had a red band, and maybe a white band.  I am giving a shout out there to the professional crow watchers; please tell me about this crow and your project. I would like to know.

Or, does anyone know who I should ask?

Is this one of the University of Washington's crows in their studies, gone south? 

The crow seems healthy and with a good curious/ belligerent crow attitude.  He (I think it is a he) goes after treats from me and is not shy around me. This crow gets along well with his peers, he appears to not be at the bottom of the crow pecking order or anything.  He ranges in the Broadway area around and one street behind, either side, one block south of QFC at Republican.  I think he is about five or so, from how fat he is but I am wildly guessing.  He hangs out with a gang of about 10 other crows, who have the same weight and size he is.  They seem to be eating the garbage at the cans in the area, mostly.

Whose crow is this?  This is the only banded crow I have seen in the area.

I am asking for a little help here.

Speaking of banded crows, I hear tell there was a study to train crows to go look for Osama ben Laden, since they have such good face recognition.   After I post this, I am planning to go look for that study. I guess this study is moot, now, that the Navy seals caught him and killed him. Now, it will take trained dolphins to find him, where he is now.