1. They loosely define family. There is always mom and dad and a few hangers-on. They call them Nanny Crows. It helps because there are usually two babies a year. Often the Nanny Crows are young adults from prior years that have not quite left their Mom's basement.
2. They don't let them out of the nest until they can fly on their own. When they do let them out, they have two adults with them all the time.
3. They feed them, they stroke their necks and nuzzel them sometimes and then at some point they also ignore their screeching. When one parent does not respond, the baby goes to the next parent. When that does not work they follow their parents around and skwack some more. This goes on all day but in the end the kids start to feed themselves. They score snacks but they learn and watch and figure things out.
4. They keep them close for awhile but encourage them to play with other bird friends Often they even let them play with starlings. When the babies come out of the nest they are adult size with perfect feathers. The parents and the nanny's are pretty bedragled by this time of year. The parents keep the babies groomed but when they go play with their friends things get out of control. You can always tell by a feather or two sticking up.
5. They pay attention to their kids. No texting, cell phone calls or television. They work together as a family to steal food from the Stellar Jays. They spend evenings together and fly away to roost about 30 minutes before sunset.
I often wonder if the Crows record such observations about us? They learn from each other, they remember faces, they know when food should appear and demand it regularly if not delivered. They set up their own "homes" and jealously guard them, chasing away the most officious interloper. Raccoons, cats, dogs, even people are chased and dive bombed. As a greater group they will even take on a Bald Eagle.
We have watched, we have been amazed, we have been delighted. Our own little nature show. They are a part of our lives. A weird but present example of parallel lives.
Many Mom's mention they feel like they stepped off the path and have a hard time rejoining their former lives. I think we have to do it the ways the Crows do... a bit at a time.
have been fed and coddled and protected and now we are venturing back into the big world. The thing we need to remember is we are not alone. We are being watched protected and will be helped along the way.
We can do it.