How-to: Tell if a Fledgling Crow Needs Help

Metro Vancouver’s Northwestern Crow population is going through its yearly fledgling process where these young birds are learning how to fly and self-feed in the span of a couple weeks.

While it’s a perfectly normal process for these fledglings to work through these growing pains which often has them falling on the ground, to the untrained eye it can appear to be an animal in danger. This inevitably leads to an increase in the number of calls to the Wildlife Helpline from people concerned about the seemingly grounded and helpless birds.

Baby Fledgling Crows

Fledgling crows can take 1-2 weeks to learn to fly and self-feed with the help of their parents.

In fact, young fledgling crows will spend approximately one to two weeks on the ground as they go through this essential learning process with their parents. It’s crucial for them to have this time – although it does expose them to dangers of the urban environment, including predators.

Parents are extremely protective of their babies at this time, leading to behaviour such as dive-bombing. If you are dive-bombed by crows, try to give them as much space as possible (e.g. cross the street or use a different entrance to your home). Avert your eyes and stay relaxed so you don’t appear as a predator to the parents. If all else fails, use an umbrella to protect yourself from strikes.

What to Do

Help Fledgling Crows

If you find a fledgling crow, leave it be! Fledgling crows are fully feathered and should be able to stand up on their own. If the fledgling is in immediate danger, it is okay to gently pick it up and place it in a nearby bush or tree. If you are concerned the baby is orphaned, watch for parents feeding the baby for 2-4 hours. If the crow is not yet fully feathered, has an obvious injury such as a drooping wing or blood, is covered in flies or there are no signs of parents in 4 hours, give our Wildlife Helpline a call at 604-526-7275.


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