Bongo and Bella’s Announcement

Mr. Bongo Crow and Ms. Bella Crow are proud to announce that they have fledglings!

Quite a few, it turns out …

I heard some baby burbling coming from the trees on the morning walk earlier this week, but it wasn’t until lunchtime that I spotted the first one.

There is honestly nothing I find more adorable than the grumpy little face of a newly fledged crow — those blue eyes and the down-turned little pink mouth edges.

Baby, you may notice, was having a bit of a hard time swallowing the peanut bits that mum or dad had just crammed into that little pink beak.

There was more soft quacking coming from the upper tree branches, so I assumed there was at least one more up there.

That evening we were amazed to see one of the youngsters actually doing a bit of rudimentary flapping from tree to tree. The flying proficiency leads me  to believe that Bongo and Bella have been doing a top notch job of keeping their little family well hidden and protected for at least a week to get them to this “off the ground” state.

You can see from the view of a pop-up wing (below), that they’re still not fully developed. Early flying efforts are a challenging combination of mechanical issues and inexperience!

The last thing we saw before going home that night was either Bongo on Bella on sentinel duty atop the school’s flagpole — scouring the 360 degree horizon for potential danger...

First-fledgling time is a sort of Christmas-Morning-With-High- Anxiety experience for me, ridiculous as that may be. Couldn’t get to sleep the next night and I was awake and out of the house before 6 am.

In spite of wandering their block for a while, I saw only mom and dad — still on guard duty.

Bongo and Bella came down for peanuts, but didn’t take them to feed babies breakfast — just stashed them for later use.

The lunchtime walk was looking similarly fledgling-free until I decided to make one more pass (poor Geordie) and heard a little quack. Looked up and spotted baby number one.

I could see another shape up there and moved around to get a view of what I thought would be baby number two. Surprise, surprise — TWO more ridiculously cute little figures perched together!

Look at those pristine little feet. It must feel good to have a little toe stretch while learning how to cling on to branches — an important new skill.

Fledgling one having a bit of a wing stretch …

Fledglings two and three, with three doing some more toe flexing …


I spent quite a while admiring the three of them until my neck got too kinked from pointing the camera straight up. All the while, proud dad Bongo kept me company down below.

He even made the official birth-bong announcement …

Yes, that WAS four bongs.

There was indeed a fourth fledging, but he or she didn’t make it. I found a detached immature crow wing on the ground yesterday, so the unlucky one must have fallen victim to a raccoon or cat.

The surviving three are far from out of the woods. Only 50% of crow fledglings survive to the end of their first year and I suspect that number might be higher given the extra challenges presented by the hot dry summers of recent years.

Bongo and Bella are not registered for baby gifts, but they did have a couple of small requests in lieu:

  • Please put water out so that parent birds can soak food for the fledglings, and those still in the nest, to keep them hydrated. It’s only May and already, here in usually wet Vancouver, there is no trace of puddle water and the dirt is too packed to dig up worms. Keep changing the water throughout the day and keep the bowl clean to stop the spread of diseases.
  • If you must have an outdoor cat, please keep him/her indoors during fledgling season. To you, your cat is “Fluffy Pudding-kins.” To crow (and all bird) parents he or she is “Harbinger of Doom/Destroyer of Worlds.”



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9 thoughts on “Bongo and Bella’s Announcement

  1. Congratulations to the new parents. Thanks for the water food soaking explanation. I have a summer crow family and one brings bead, buns and a muffin complete with Tim Hortons wrapper for soaking. I’ve been out rinsing the baths (I have 3, it’s a busy bird yard), cleaning and disinfecting more than usual. Only the Crows soak the food, the Magpies dont, but they are all in the yard at the same time with no issues (thankfully).

  2. So exciting to see the babies! What a thrill! I’d like to put our water for the birds in my area, but we are in a condo with a balcony. Would the crows be bold enough to get water from a balcony? Hmmmm?

  3. Wishing the three Bongo and Bella babies all the luck in the world! This spring, we were honoured by a pair of crows nesting in our holly tree. But, no luck. One morning, we found one baby on the lawn. It had been attacked by something. The second baby also fell out of the nest, but it was alive. We had read somewhere that if this happens, to leave it alone, and the parents look after it. We did give it water and some worms. I was so hopeful that the baby would make it, but no luck. One morning when we checked on it, it too had died. It looked like the neighbour’s cat had killed it, as the only visible damage was some displaced feathers. I have vowed that if we ever get another crow baby on our lawn, I’m going to bring it inside, and raise it myself. Better than letting it be mauled by a cat. We were so saddened. I think that the parents were rookies. The nest looked too small and not round enough. I’m so glad for the Bongs. I hope that “our” crows come back next year, and that they have better luck!

  4. I have nesting crows dipping their bread in my pond and bird bath so lots of cleaning out. Cant help but think how un nutritious bread is! No fledglings in site but hoping for the best. keeping fingers crossed for the Bongo babies.

  5. There is a hierarchy at my two bird baths. The crows take the shallower black one, and two visit it every hour, dropping and soaking and then gulping up and flying off always in the same direction. The bigger deeper one is attracting baby pigeons, squirrels, sparrows, chickadees, flicker, and a robin. Thanks for the reminder about good sanitation! How long is ‘fledging food soaking time period’ at the bird bath?

    • I fear the soaking goes on all summer! I put a shallow plastic bowl from IKEA out front and it’s the one the crows use most — lots of wet bread and half of a rodent this week! Needs cleaning multiple times per day, needless to say. Luckily the crows rarely use the nice stone birdbath so it stays cleaner longer for the small birds who use it as a spa. 😊

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