Mabel the Matriarch

Nest building triptych with blossom

Mabel and her mate began their 2020 nesting odyssey way back in April when I photographed the series above, written about in A Message in the Sky.

A nest was duly built in a nearby ornamental plum tree, and Mabel sat on it for a while, settled in a pretty pink world.

Blossom Crow's Nest

It seemed like a good early start, so I was all ears for baby crow sounds by mid-June. Sadly, something must have gone wrong with that nest location, as it was was abandoned sometime in June, and it looked as if Mabel and her partners might be deciding to take a year off from the parenting business. They did have an extremely busy time last summer with three demanding fledglings, two of which were still with them this spring.

Mabel the Crow on Favourite Perch July 2020

She surprised me again last week when I heard not one, but two, and possibly three fledglings calling from her neck of the proverbial urban woods.

And there was one …

Mabel baby crow Jul 18 2020

… and another …

Mabel baby crow with railings

I’m pretty sure I heard a third, but I haven’t seen all three together yet, so hard to say for certain. Either way, it looks like another long, hot, busy summer ahead for Mabel.

Hopefully the “teenagers” still with her be useful baby sitters from time to time. Mostly though, it’s Mabel I’ve seen doing the feeding and general herding of gormless babies out of danger.

Mabel feeding fledgling Jul 18

Fledgling crow with pebble

One of her fledglings beginning that vital crash course on what is, and what is not, food. Small pebbles now ruled out.

Fledgling crow on a peeling roof

Baby experiences his/her first heatwave

I saw Mabel and one of the babies near our house this morning. That’s not “their” end of the block but the parents do have to follow wherever their boundary-innocent offspring flap off to.

First, baby posed for a distant pop-up portrait …

Baby Crow pop up

Then, seeing how fearless mom is, in for a close-up …

Mabel crow fledgling jul 28

Mabel must be getting on bit by now. It looks as if her right eye is getting worse, and yet she continues to add to her corvid dynasty year by year.

More crows in line for her throne and her rusty chain of office — although she looks ready to rule for many years yet.

Mabel on her throne


Other posts about Mabel:



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6 thoughts on “Mabel the Matriarch

  1. June, more terrific close up shots. I forward these posts to several relatives and friends, here and away,who love them. Down here on the river, I’ve never seen so many babies. I see them on my roof, 2 raucous kids berating their poor mama. I’m still tossing out blueberries as surreptitiously as I can, hoping not to be outed again. My blueberry bill is higher than usual this year, but so enjoyable. Unlike you I can’t identify them, except for a couple, who’ e been coming for years. Sad,y, I’ve seen two dead youngsters on the road. Have the birds more or less adjusted to the trees gone? What a boondoggle! Allison

    Sent from my iPad


  2. The Amazing Mabel! And ‘shiny new crows’ for a loving crow granny! My best wishes that they all do well. As far as I’m concerned, the more Corvids there are in this world the better! I hold a slender hope that all those smarts just might rub off on us humans, thus making the world a better place.

  3. Nice that you now have quite a few young ones to enjoy! It’s so comforting to see how the natural world manages to continue in spite of the mismanagement of its habitat by humans.

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