Maynard the unflighted fledgling Crow on July 20th at 7:31 PM looking a little worse for wear but much better than he looked earlier in the day.
But lets rewind a number of hours in this particular day.
It was 90 plus degrees, the corn in the fields was so dry it was whorling and there wasn't a hint of a breeze. I was walking down the sidewalk on my way to the store when I saw a large bird with limp posture in the shade of a Maple across the street in the Methodist Church's large yard.
Hmmm. Young Crow?
Indeed, and without much in the way of flight feathers or a tail either. Getting closer I saw that his eyes looked filmy and he just didn't look good. And even though I was in a few feet of him, there were no Crows in the trees screaming at me to leave him alone. No extended family minders. Bad sign.
I advance on young Crow who rather half halfheartedly gambols away. I don't want to exhaust him with a chase, or leap at him for a grab, but I don't have anything to throw over him.
About then I notice some sort of workman holding a big green plastic bucket and wearing one of those blaze orange net don't-hit-me-with-your-car alert vests standing on the sidewalk staring at me.
All you can do is ask, right?
"Excuse me, Sir. Could I borrow your vest for a moment to throw over this bird so I can catch him?"
After a quick explanation, the guy who turns out to be named Mike and is obviously a good sport, throws the vest over the Crow himself. I get Crow out of the vest and his bones feel too sharp...mouth and eyes look dry. Dehydration.
Mike then says, "Where are you going with him?"
"My house, over there." I point.
Mike says, "Want to put him in my bucket?"
This is a grand idea as it will be less stressful for the Crow.
Into the bucket goes young Crow. Who has yet to vocalize. Also not a good sign.
In a matter of minutes, Mike who is a big muscled butch kind of guy, with fingers like sausages, (Think Hagrid from Harry Potter) is sitting in the shade with Crow, whom he has already named Maynard, while I go into the house and try to figure out something to hydrate Crow with.
From the look of the little drop of purple feces Maynard has excreted his parents have been feeding him black raspberries or mulberries. Neither of which I have.
I make some sugar water, grab some applesause, a slice of bread, a piece of lunch meat, a turkey baster and a popsicle stick and back to the yard I go.
Mike is holding Maynard the Crow, who is looking stoic, as in I might die at any moment and I don't care.
I know that young birds get their moisture from food but in this heat obviously Maynard hasn't been getting enough so I get some sugar water in the turkey baster and point it at Maynard who gapes. Good sign. In goes a trickle of sugar water.
He swallows. He has some more. I try the bread and the lunch meat. No go.
Mike gets some applesauce on the popsicle stick and Maynard jumps at it. Maynard loves applesauce. He can't get enough of it. Mike keeps presenting it, along with little clucks and soothing sounds and Maynard keeps gobbling.
Maynard is looking better already.
I suggest we put Maynard up in the lilac tree in the shade, where he is out of harms way and see if his parents, or whoever is supposed to be minding him, Crows often live in extended family groups, find him.
We do. Mike goes back to work, though while I'm keeping an eye on Maynard out the window, I notice that Mike is doing the same as he works across the way.
I keep looking out the window. Maynard is still there. It has been three hours and still there isn't the sound or sight of any adult Crows. Though Maynard hasn't cooperated and called to get any Crow attention either. Sigh.
There is a tap tap at the back door. I open it. There's Mike. He says, "Got any more applesauce?"
Armed with more applesauce and the popsicle stick, Mike's out there in the Lilacs feeding Maynard.
Mike gives him another feeding at dusk.
Maynard just before he tucks his head under his wing and goes to sleep.
STAY TUNED! THE ADVENTURES OF MAYNARD THE UNFLIGHTED FLEDGLING CONTINUE!