Baby crow, who was only a few weeks old, could barely walk.
Unfortunately, one day he fell out of the nest.
Fortunately he landed in a huge pile of leaves.
Unfortunately his parents never found him.
Fortunately a twelve year old boy named Gus did.
Gus took baby crow home and wrapped him up in a nice warm towel. Of course baby crow was starving, so he made a huge racket. Gus tried to feed baby crow some bread, but that only made baby crow scream louder. Gus tried wetting the bread to make it easier for baby crow to swallow, but that only seem to make baby crow sick.
Gus was trying to hide baby crow from his parents, but the noise was too loud. Gus’s dad came into his room with a frown.
“Found a crow eh,” to which Gus only nodded.
“He won’t survive long on soggy bread,” his father sighed. “You need to get worms and bugs. A lot of um.” So Gus spend the rest of the afternoon digging in the backyard. He scooped up whatever he could find and dropped it into a small cup. By the time he was done, he had 15 or 20 small critters. Baby crow gobbled them up and finally went to sleep.
“Taking care of crow will not be easy,” Gus thought as he drifted off in his own bed.
Then, at the crack of dawn, Baby crow was back up and squawking up a storm. Gus scrambled into the backyard to hunt for more bugs. He quickly got tired of running back and forth, so he built a small nest in the grass where he could put baby crow as he dug for more bugs. Baby crow watched him intently with his big shiny black eyes.
It was Summer, so Gus spent everyday searching for baby crow’s food. Baby crow grew bigger and started to crave other things. Gus sometimes snuck from the kitchen raw meat or cheese or an occasional egg, which baby crow devoured shell and all. The bigger baby crow grew, the more ravenous his hunger became. As his wing feathers grew in, baby crow developed a little dance that he did whenever Gus had some food. He would open his mouth wide and flutter his wings as he screeched. He also became more curious, getting into whatever mischief he could find. The cat detested him, and the dog was deathly afraid of him. Animal wise, baby crow was clearly the one in charge.
The day came when baby crow was much too big to keep in the house. Gus’s dad would not let baby crow stay in the garage or shed. “He’ll poop up the place,” he growled. Gus tried to build a cage out of some old wood and chicken wire, but baby crow was too smart for it. He just pried it open with his beak. The only thing to do was to let baby crow sleep in the backyard. He would have to fend from himself at night. Baby crow seemed to do alright, but the morning was a different story. Baby crow always woke up at dawn and wanted to be fed right away. He would do whatever it took to get Gus out of the house to feed him. Eventually he took to banging on Gus’s bedroom window. This seemed to work for a time. As soon as Gus heard the noise, he got up to give baby crow his morning meal. Then one morning, Gus was so dead asleep he could not be stirred. So baby crow found a way to break the window with a rock, then hopped on to Gus’s bed to pull the sheets off of him.
“That bird has got to go,” Gus’s dad proclaimed when he saw the broken window.
Gus and his dad loaded up baby crow into a cardboard box and drove him to a nearby nature center. The lady behind the counter told Gus about their animal rehabilitation program, for which she declared baby crow a “perfect candidate”.
“With any luck he’ll be back in the wild by next spring,” the lady smiled.
Through Fall and Winter, Gus came to visit baby crow as much as possible. Baby crow was put in a cage with several other young crows. He was being taught how to live and socialize with his own kind. Every time baby crow saw Gus, he would fly to the edge of his cage, open his gaping beak, and squeak as he fluttered his wings.
Then Gus came in the Spring, and baby crow and his friends were gone. “Made it back to the wild,” the nature lady grinned proudly. Gus could not help wanting to cry.
One Summer night, nearly a year after baby crow had been taken to the nature center, Gus was awoken by a light tapping sound. Half asleep, he thought he saw a black form at the window fluttering its wings. He ran to open the window, but by the time he got there baby crow was high in the sky where he joined a few other crows who where heading off into the distance.