By David Lennon.
You could tell that something was happening with our crow family this morning.
Birds could be seen edging towards the end of the branches, some fully grown with shiny black feathers, others smaller with less slick feathers and downy heads.
It looked like our nest was about to be evacuated, almost three months after the first indications that eggs had been laid.
For many years now we have witnessed the crows each spring building and rebuilding the nests in our chestnut trees. This year they chose a new tree, still close to our flat and at eye level.
But because of the heavy foliage of this tree, it was harder to see into the nest and guess how many chicks were hatching. We would have to wait until they emerged for their virgin flight. Always a nerve-wracking event for the wee ones.
We watched for a couple of hours in the morning as the little ones edged along the branch, looked down, ruffled their feathers, then changed their mind and scuttled back again.
The crow parents were flying in and out of the tree all morning, clearly encouraging the chicks to fly.
The pattern of parental prodding, and youngsters’ reluctance, continued for quite a couple of hours. Then at one point both adult crows flew off across the park, clearly having decided that it was time to take a break. The little ones edged back along the branches and disappeared behind the foliage.
As it was clearly now break time for them, we downed binoculars and cameras and went about food chores.
It was mid-afternoon when I returned to the balcony. Suddenly one, then two, then three, then four crows flew out of the tree. “They’re flying!” I called excitedly to Vicky, and we both watched with delight as our little feathered family, who had kept us fascinated during our lockdown, flew off to freedom.
Our turn next?