I found this guy right under my window, huddled in a corner and bleeding a lot (for a crow) from his leg. You can see that the leg is sort of twisted backwards on these two pics, and you can see where he was bleeding.

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Me and my family held him down and sprayed antiseptic on his wound and most of his leg, which he didn't mind too much. Over the next two days, he managed to stop bleeding and seemingly recover, becoming much more active and lively. The thing is, he can't fly. But he was constantly hopping on things to try to get outside of the garden (though he didn't fear us, he just wanted to get back to his parents, presumably).

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The thing that I'm worried about is whether his family is going to accept him back if we send him out again. We sent him out already once, and a neighbour found him huddled in a corner just like the last time, so he brought him home (though the crows sounded angry at him as he was doing so).

My grandmother disregarded our plan and put him out again in the morning while we were asleep, and the cawing woke me up. What I really need to know quickly so I can make a proper decision (whether to try to bring him back into the garden, which is very much near the nest, or whether to let him take the chances out there) is whether his family is going to abandon him for not being able to fly and for having an injured leg. I am PRETTY SURE (I'm not absolutely 100% sure that it was him but I'm decently sure) I saw a crow feeding him directly with my binoculars. However, I also saw that another fledgling that looked similar was flying.

The question is, if he can't fly and if he has a limp in one leg, will he survive? Will his family teach him how to fly, or will they abandon him for not knowing how to fly yet? The area where we live has a lot of stray cats, so that's the big problem.

Thanks, I hope someone can help me figure out the best decision. The reason we wanted to keep him in the garden a bit more is to feed him and wait until he can learn to fly in a safe environment that cats are more unlikely to enter.

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    This is not the site for urgent help, obviously. Call the RSPCA, the animal ambulance, or whatever animal rescue services exist in your area. Don't go online, grab the phone. – AliceD May 30 '18 at 11:33
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    I live in Serbia, absolutely nobody is willing to help just a random crow, and vets are not going to do anything to help the crow for free. My financial situation absolutely does not permit spending huge amounts of money on a vet for a wild animal, as much as I wish I could. Also, a professional mentioned that the crow will be fine with a disfigured leg (it's already stopped bleeding and seems to have mostly healed), since they mostly use wings. It can walk fine, it just walks with a limp, and it's already getting used to balancing on top of things (only 2 days after the injury!). – Robo May 30 '18 at 17:10
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    How do you feel about having a pet crow? Crows are very intelligent, and this guy may decide he has a good thing going with you. This is just speculation on my part, however. – ab2 May 30 '18 at 17:22
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    Robo, it sounds like you've been doing great things, especially treating that leg. Many birds do fine with a certain level of injury. He sounds confused but not necessarily a lost cause. @ab2's article offers good information. It's good to know that crows won't reject a baby that's been touched by a human. Whatever happens know that you did your best. If he happens to perish, at least he had someone to love and make his life as easy as possible. If he's able to live, that would be awesome! Would you please update your question as you go along? We'd like to know what happens to this little guy! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL May 31 '18 at 4:18
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    Yeah, I know that birds don't mind if a human has touched babies, it's just a myth. I'll update the question or PM you or something, sure. Could you check out my replies to ab2's answer? It contains most of my current concerns (which aren't its injury anymore, it seems to be getting used to the injury and all) about the bird, for example how can I help it learn to fly and how I can make sure it learns the things it needs to learn. – Robo May 31 '18 at 10:03

The source for this answer is an article Found a Baby Crow ? on the website of an organization called Pacific Wildlife.

I'm not a bird expert by any means, and certainly not a crow expert. Everything I say is from this article; the only experience I have with crows is observing them in our neighborhood for years. So I can say from my observations that they are intelligent and cooperative.

To summarize the article:

Crows are social and accept adult and baby crows from outside their extended family. Baby crows need to learn foraging and predator avoidance from adult crows, and need to learn how to behave among other crows. Thus, my suggestion that you might adopt the crow as a pet would deny the crow his natural social life with other crows. Would you want to be adopted by a group of giant corvids, however well they fed you? It is, of course, better than starving or being killed by a predator, but is not ideal. The article states:

Healthy crow fledglings can be introduced to any crow pod and will be accepted, fed and protected as one of their own.

The article describes how to return the baby to its family or introduce it to potential adopter crows.

Ideally, you should return the baby to the family of origin. Alternately, you can find another established pod of crows. To return a baby to its family or to "foster" it into a new family, follow these procedures: The best arrival time at the scene is early or late morning. The birds are active then, and you will want the baby to have the full day to get established and to get the number of feedings that it should have before dark. When you arrive at the site, hold the bird’s body gently in your hands leaving the wings free. Raise and lower the bird in your hands to encourage it to flap the wings. This will usually cause the baby to vocalize and will attract the attention of resident crows.

The resident crows will respond right away to the bird's cries and come down to investigate. When you have the attention of the family, toss the baby into a tall thicket or into a tree. They usually land sideways and hang by one leg as if they are stranded. Don't panic. They right themselves in a few minutes and will shortly communicate with the other crows. The family will adopt the baby and all will be well.

It seems from your question that you have observed that other crows are interested in this baby. Try this procedure, but watch what happens. If the crows adopt him, problem solved. If they reject him, you have a pet crow. You are part of nature, and I think it is admirable you are taking an interest in someone who might have died on your doorstep.

  • This is a really interesting article. Don't you just love how some families of animals are willing to adopt strays! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL May 31 '18 at 4:09
  • Thanks for the answer! I hope you'll be able to clarify some things, though. My goal isn't to get a pet crow, my goal is actually to get it to catch up to the skills that it seems to lack compared to its family. The thing is, it can't fly and the other young crows can. So it just seems to get left behind every time we leave it there, and it ends up heading for the buildings to huddle in some corner. Surely this isn't normal? – Robo May 31 '18 at 9:59
  • I mean, when it's in our garden, it hops (and does short flights) from one place to another, seemingly practicing flying. But, maybe due to the feral cats in the area, outside of the garden it just gets found sitting motionless in some building's corner instead of learning to fly or being fed (though at the same time, every time it DOES get fed when we try giving it back). This happens every time. Am I misinterpreting its tendency to huddle in a corner as something it shouldn't be doing? Also, what's the time-frame for it learning predator avoidance and foraging from the adults? – Robo May 31 '18 at 10:00
  • Maybe it's not as good as other crows, but it does seem to feed itself and forage in my garden, it doesn't need to be hand-fed anymore. If I keep it for a few more days, is there a possibility that it will lose the opportunity to learn its skill? Also, this might sound silly, but can I teach it to fly myself? Can I take it out on the field in front of my house and let it practice flying? – Robo May 31 '18 at 10:01
  • @Sue The OP is asking questions way beyond my knowledge. Can you write a better answer than mine? – ab2 May 31 '18 at 12:08

If you release him now he probably dies very soon either due to starvation or due to cats killing him. If you have the time you could nurture him back to health. In the animal world it often happens that parents only care for their offspring as long as it can't provide for itself. So if you nurture him back to health and release him when he is ready this would give him the best chances of survival. I left behind an injured bird last summer and I still regret this decision. I mean you could just provide the bare minimum, which is food, water and shelter and his chances of survival are much better than when you release him now...and after all animals are generally very grateful and won't forget your help which could be seen as rewarding..

  • "I left behind an injured bird last summer and I still regret this decision." Don't beat yourself up. This was the best course of action. – Don Branson May 30 '18 at 11:57
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    Actually I'm happy to say that it can already feed itself without an issue. He's young but he seems to have learned a lot of things, just not flying yet. However, even though he hasn't learned flying, he's improving every single day. 2 days ago he was unable to even jump on a chair, now he successfully makes several little flights and ends up getting on a branch of a tree in my garden. He's doing great. I already plan to provide food and shelter, we took a wicker basket and we're keeping him in there at night, it's very cozy. Will it successfully learn to fly with us though? – Robo May 30 '18 at 17:16
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    Basically, if I can keep it safe until it learns to fly and (completely) how to feed itself, I'll be happy. Seems like his injury isn't bugging him anymore, so that's good. But yeah, my main concern is whether or not he'll actually gain the skills he needs while in our garden. – Robo May 30 '18 at 17:17

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