Fish Crow Baby Season

provided by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

Corvidae is the family of birds most commonly referred to as corvids. Corvids, or the crow family, include crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, and nutcrackers just to name a few of the over 120 different species. All corvids have shown a range of intelligent behaviors surpassing not only other birds, but most mammals as well. Members of the corvid family are among the most intelligent, social, and curious songbirds.

Crows and ravens have been observed engineering tools, using those tools to acquire food and even to solve puzzles. They will mimick sounds, words, and display a natural curiosity which serves them well in adapting to everchanging environments. Beyond their impressive cognitive abilities, corvids are forcing researchers to reconsider the theoretical hierarchy placed on animal intelligence.

Crows are excellent environmental citizens and fish crows help benefit the coastal areas where they reside. A crow family can eat up to 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, worms, and other insects in one nesting season. They transport and store seeds contributing to plant and forest renewal. Crows have even been observed picking up trash!

Although it may not be a well known fact, there are two different types of crows across the eastern United States; the American crow and the fish crow. Looking almost identical to the American crow, the fish crow is slightly smaller. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is through their calls. American crows give off a full-throated “caw”, while fish crows have more of a nasal sound giving off a short “cow” noise. Fish crows live along beaches, lakes, rivers, and estuaries. Similar to its relatives, the fish crow will eat almost anything including carrion, trash, turtle and bird eggs, berries, fruit, nestlings, crabs, and marine invertebrates.

Fish crows put their nests near the top of evergreens, deciduous trees, palms, and mangroves. In Florida, they mate around the time period of April to May. At the beginning and middle of May, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) starts to see an increased admittance of fledgling and nestling fish crows.

“It is during this spring-summer season that we get swamped with baby birds who have prematurely fallen from their nests, been blown out by storms or even grown out of their nests in certain situations”, said Breanna Frankel, CROW’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager.

CROW is currently caring for ten fish crows. Four of the patients are fledglings and the remaining six patients are nestlings who still have bald spots and patchy feathers. The first fledgling fish crow of the group (21-2455) was admitted from Fort Myers after it had fallen from the nest and was unable to fly. Upon examination, veterinarians noted it was very weak, thin, and covered in feather mites. The orphan was transferred to rehab to continue care and close monitoring. The patient has been eating well, steadily improving, and has since moved in with four other fish crow cagemates. They will remain under supportive care until they are old enough to be released.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (5/12-5/19):
There were 162 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including nine blue jays, seven common grackles, five fish crows, two eastern gray squirrels, four laughing gulls, three ospreys, two gopher tortoises, two eastern screech owls, five northern raccoons, and a little blue heron. Recent Releases include three eastern screech owls, a Florida softshell turtle, two ruddy turnstones, a pileated woodpecker, eight mottled ducks, two loggerhead shrikes, and a red-bellied woodpecker.

Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year!

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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