Just look at how grown up and fully crow-like he is already!
It’s been about twelve weeks since I first saw Lucky out of the nest, and he’s come such a long way since those first helpless days.
The first time I saw Lucky, back on June 11
Now that he’s going to the mix and mingle at the roost every night, I can’t help thinking he must be starting to feel the temptation to fly off to see the world with some fellow teen crows.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week I didn’t see or hear him at all, so I was beginning to think that was that for our little family of three.
Marvin and Mavis having a quiet morning to themselves
But no — it seems he’s not quite ready to ditch those training wheels yet. As grown up as he’s looking now, he (or she, just a guess at this point) is wise enough to know he’s still safer when mom and dad have his back.
In the photo below, Lucky looks just like a fully independent crow coming for snacks, but further investigation reveals a watchful mom, waiting in the wings in case of emergency.
I think she’s also making sure he’s following all the protocols he’s been taught over the past few weeks:
look left, look right, look up, look down, look left again and right again and up again, etc.before taking a moment to grab a snack … and repeat
grab the highest value snack items first in case this is your only chance
dunk snacks in water to add hydration boost
pack beak and gullet with maximum efficiency before take off
Nice work, but remember, look left, right, up …
Efficient snack packing starts with careful planning
I noticed that the constant begging (feed me, feed me, feed me) sounds that filled the air all summer have recently ceased.
The photo below, taken on August 18, was the last time I witnessed Lucky begging from his parents — and you can see the somewhat cynical and unobliging look he’s receiving in response.
He still calls for his parents, but it’s more of an “I’m here. Are you there?” type of communication.
From a distance, Lucky looks just like a grown up crow.
His eyes are no longer grey or blue — they’re now close to the same brown as an adult crow.
The pink gape at the side of his mouth is now quite subtle when his beak’s closed.
Still goofy, but then aren’t all crows, regardless of maturity?
However, as soon as he opens his mouth, especially when the sun hits it, that pink gape lights up like a stained glass window!
His mouth HAS been open a lot this week — not for begging purposes, but for keeping cool in the ongoing hot weather.
Aside from expelling heat via the open beak, he also sits with his wings held out from his body to let the heat out that way too, and catch any hint of a cooling breeze — just like mom and dad showed him.
I have so many photographs of Lucky now — partly because he’s so darn photogenic and partly because there are weirdly few other bird models around at the moment. That’s another, rather anxious, story for another day.
Suffice to say, at this point I have so many pictures of Lucky, he could easily have a calendar all to himself.
I have to stop and watch and photograph every time I spot him because I can’t shake the feeling that each time might be the last.
Of course, I’d be so thrilled if Lucky turned out to be one of those fledglings that sticks with mom and dad to help out and learn the ropes of nesting next year, but I can hardly bring myself to hope for that much.
Any day now he could decide to take off to complete his crow-ducation at a faraway institute of corvid higher learning.
I just hope he’ll remember to look left, right, up, down etc and to always take the good bits first.
I’m hoping to pick up the 2023 City Crow Calendar from the printer in the next couple of days — and then will begin the mad flurry of mailing out all the pre-ordered copies.
In the calm before the storm, I’ve been thinking of the reasons why you, or someone you love, might find you really need one … if you haven’t already booked your copy, that is.
Like all calendars, they’re handy for jotting down birthdays and dentist appointments and the usual day to day stuff, but here are a few more reasons to consider dedicating some precious wall space to a City Crow Calendar.
If you’ve owned one of my earlier versions, you may have thought of other uses, so if you have suggestions (polite ones only, please!) send them to me and I’ll write a sequel to this post!
FOLLOW THE SEASONS CROW-WISE
Sometimes, living in the city, you start to recognize the passing of the seasons only by the changing nature of the items on display in local shops, or in our social media feeds (back to school items … must be July, Halloween décor … what, August already?)
I like to think that City Crow Calendar owners will:
(a) be inclined to get outside to see what their own local crows are up to, and thus witness first hand what the sky and vegetation have to say, and
(b) start to see the crows themselves as messengers of seasonal change.
Crow seen with sticks in their beaks … aha, must be the beginning of nesting season.
Croaking duck-like sounds, followed by slightly strangled cries of ecstasy … obviously summertime with crow parents feeding their insatiable fledglings!
Raucous gangs of crows roaming the neighbourhood … yup, it’s the beginning of fall and the crow parents are feeling their first freedom since nesting season started, and the fledglings are now teenagers meeting other teenagers, and the suburban trees are dripping with fruit and nuts — it’s party-time!!!
GET IN TUNE WITH THE MOON
When everyone is saying “that moon looks amazing — is it a full moon?” you will be able to answer sagely “not quite, but tomorrow night will be the Full Crow Moon” and your friends will be duly impressed by your one-ness with the universe.
(Really, you just had a quick look at your City Crow Calendar, but I won’t say anything if you don’t. )
BE AN URBAN NATURE ENTHUSIAST
There are any number of calendars you can own that will show you breath taking scenery on the coast, in the mountains or in the deep woods. The City Crow Calendar (the hint is in the name) is specially designed for those of us who, for one reason or another, spend most of our time in the urban jungle.
It’s a daily reminder that you don’t have to wait and wait until you can finally get out of town to experience really being in tune with Nature — you can find those moments any day, any time by just going outside (or even just looking out of your window) and checking in on what your fellow city dwellers, the crows, are up to now.
Of course, in addition to the calendar, you can also subscribe to this blog, and/or follow me on social media for regular reminders on the wonders of urban nature.
CONVINCE THE “CROW CAUTIOUS”
We all have at least one friend who has not yet realized (poor benighted soul) how amazing crows are, and how worthy of watching every single day.
Buy them a City Crow Calendar and see if it can sway them.
It HAS been known to happen!
ENHANCE YOUR COCKTAIL PARTY CONVERSATION
Now that people are starting to attend social gatherings again, it’s time to dust off those small talk skills. Looking for a conversation opener?
Try, something like this …
“Did you know that if you see a crow in springtime with white goop on their beak it’s probably because they’ve been removing their offsprings’ fecal sacs from the nest?”
Just watch those jaws drop!
MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS
If, for some inexplicable reason, the party poop chatter doesn’t earn you a mass of new human friends, you can always be inspired by the City Crow Calendar to get out there and get to know some of your corvid neighbours on a personal level.
Like Marvin here, most local crows will at least pretend to be impressed by your wit and wisdom if you happen to have one or two peanuts in your pocket.
WALLPAPER WITH CROWS
Of course, I LOVE IT when people buy my signed crow prints as it keeps the wolf from the door, but I’m also happy to know that City Crow Calendar owners don’t usually chuck their copies out at the end of the year, but keep them — and sometimes put the pictures up around the house.
If you’d been collecting my calendars from the beginning, you’d have enough crow portraits by now to wallpaper a small room!!!