After a week we moved in, I observed a couple of crows trying to build a nest on the nearby tree. I would see them day in and day out, bringing different sticks and trying to place that first stick , carefully balancing it between the branches. The stick would fall the very next second and they would go away yet again, looking for a more suitable one. The placement of this first stick,obviously crucial, took around 8 days and the next two took a week. Talk about grit!
Once a triangle of sorts was formed(the foundation), the next steps went by considerably quick.Stick after stick,carefully chosen, were brought to the location. A rigorous testing of the new stick(if it was strong enough) was performed and meticulous placing happened. The nest evolved beautifully with some plastic wires and other oddiments thrown in.
I think the crows observed me observing them. So, they decide to collect a fee for the “show” and how? The strands of my new broom are taken for a cushiony interior. And of course, the “she” demands the finest. So, my broom is torn apart in the quest for the softest strands. The rest of the mess is left for me to cleanup.
After the nest was complete,I saw her just sitting on it for days together, with the frequent visits of the male crow. Apparently she was not just ‘sitting’ but incubating! One fine morning, I saw the tiniest chicks in the nest. The mommy would never leave the nest leaving me to wonder where on earth she gets the food from.That’s when I saw it – the dad bringing in food for the mommy and the kids! I was touched.
I started leaving out some cooked rice, veggies, portions of my evening snack for them to feast on and also a bird bath for a refreshing dip in the hot afternoons.The dad did enjoy all these, but the mom would NEVER leave the nest, except for that occasional hop to the next branch(few milli-metres away), probably to stretch those sore limbs.
One evening,there was a heavy downpour of rain accompanied by blinding lightning,resounding thunder and very strong winds. I rushed out to see how the little chicks were faring.I do not know why I presumed the mom would have left. But there I saw her,sitting with silent resolve.I could see she was trying to hold her nest together with her wings, blinking through the pouring rain.She had a steely determined look.
I stood a fascinated witness to the love, affection and that fierce protection the crows showed on their little ones.
The chicks have now grown a little and the mom is comfortable leaving the nest, coming back with the gathered food.She caws to me, if I don’t leave her the daily quota of food. Thanks to this little family, I’ve made that long pending visit to the ration shop, to get more rice to feed the little ones.
And oh, we’ve named the little ones Ram and Shyam 🙂
**A flock of crows is called ‘murder’. Like ‘a herd of elephants’, they’re called ‘a murder of crows’
** Crows mate for life! They find a new partner only if one of them die or they think it’s not working out between them(can’t produce broods)
**The male brings food for the female during incubation period. He dunks the food in water, sometimes letting it soak for a while in order to quench the female’s thirst during summers
** Pairs already mated do not have any courtship displays. So, no fluffing of feathers, displaying wings to impress, singing songs for the wife happens. Much like us, innit? 😀