Marauding Crow Snatches Nestlings

I was sitting at my desk by the front window where we often watch the house finches come and go from their nest. It was just a couple of days ago that 3 baby house finches were squirming about in the nest.

There are 3 house finch nestlings ( or I guess I should say there were)

I kept hearing a strange noise outside the window. It sounded like a large sheet blowing and flapping in the wind. I glanced a couple of times and didn’t see anything. About the 3rd time I heard it, I caught sight of a huge crow (maybe a raven?) flapping its wings, which was the sound I evidently heard.

I grabbed my camera and tried to open the blinds but I was too late to get a snapshot of the giant crow pounding the juniper tree with its wings, jabbing its beak into the tree and then thundering off with a mouthful of nestlings. I’m pretty sure it got all of them.

I was stunned. A couple of minutes later, the house finch mama was flitting in a panic around the tree and in the nest, apparently searching for the newborns. It was a frantic scene which went on for over half an hour at least. She flew off and flew back repeatedly to what I assumed was an empty nest. There might have been an egg left because the crow returned to fly over the tree. But it didn’t stop.

Frantic house finch mama

I now believe that’s what happened to the missing cardinal egg and cardinal baby. My wife says she has seen a large crow swooping around our property. I wonder if that’s what spooked the robins who have probably abandoned the nest under our deck.

I took a quick look around the web and found that crows will eat eggs and nestlings, but it’s said to be an uncommon occurrence. It definitely happened in front of me and in the blink of an eye.

I don’t know what the house finches will do now. Will they try again? I doubt it will be in the same tree. Many of the branches are bent, exposing the nest where the thief broke in.

I’ll keep you posted.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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