It seemed incapable of flight but otherwise very advanced. It could feed itself, understood that the gate was a barrier that could open or close, and seemed to have worked out a bunch of paths through the tangle of vegetation.
Usually a wild animal that tolerates humans as the crow did is either hand raised or close to death. But then, a bird in trouble usually shows some sign: a drooping posture, irregular movements, sunken eyes. Something. Perhaps this lonely crow was abandoned by the parents due to some health problem I couldn't detect.
I've never been so tempted to catch an animal and bring it inside. I couldn't - the crow was too active to get near. And I was glad. I have worked in wildlife rescue shelters, and around urban wildlife. I know the rules. You leave baby wildlife where you find it. The best chance is for the parents to care for a baby.
Oh baby crow. Why?
Cat? Raccoon? Coyote? Owl?
Sad sad sad sad sad.
Act IIIAfter three days of denial, I finally went out and buried the little remains of the baby crow. Usually adult crows pester people who bury their babies but none of them seemed to care. I think this one truly was abandoned when I saw it.
An inventory of what I found:
- Part of each wing, twisted backward from the body.
- A ribcage and some tail feathers.
- One feather on the path,a dozen steps away from the body
- No feet. No muscle left anywhere. No beak. No flashing eye. No life.
- After I buried the body, I found part of the skull - the top, back part of the cranium, clean and empty. Whatever ate it really did eat almost everything.
I cut all the flowers I could find that were going to seed and made a huge mound over the grave so that next spring all kinds of pretty things will grow there.
I don't know why it's bothering me so much. I've had dead birds in the yard before. I think the area it was in is maybe too attractive. It has food, water, shelter - everything parent birds want for their young, but it's fenced in and becomes a trap. I have what I thought were good escape holes in the fence. I see the chickens use them but they are so much more worldly than a baby bird, even a baby crow.
Bringing baby wildlife inside violates my eleventh commandment, my prime directive, a powerful thou shalt not. Wildlife needs to be wild. Cultivating relationships with wild animals so often ends badly, with the animal growing up in a half-world, unable to fend fully on its own, but growing more and more into instincts that tell it to go out seeking. A wild animal is not a pet and deserves better - even if ironically, it gets less than nothing.