What is better, watching a crow build his nest or watching him tend to his young ones? Many will find either of the things difficult to imagine as we rarely get to see them. We may live our lives and die without witnessing this phenomenon of nature. But then what is so significant about it? After all it’s just a bird building his nest and going about with his life. Should humans give so much importance to it? Well, unless you had been in my position all this would be difficult for you to fathom. It all started when the tree opposite my living room window fell. It wasn’t the entire tree, but a significant branch of it-significant because this mighty branch had housed many a generations of crows on it. The helpless crows could be seen wandering around in search of a new place to build their nests. They encountered hostility from the crows on the other trees. All this was silently observed by me from an excellent vantage point-my living room window. Few days passed and I began noticing a couple of crows sitting on the window grill. In a day or two they started gathering twigs and other paraphernalia used by birds for nest-building. Twice I threw the twigs away thinking it was going to be such a nuisance, but after their persistent efforts, I gave up. I thought; why not give them a chance. And so began my tryst with the crows. One might think nest-building is a fairly easy activity-gather a few twigs and leaves, arrange them in a particular fashion and then-voila! You get your nest. But that’s not to be. A nest is an intricate arrangement of twigs, sticks, leaves on the exterior and the interior is lined with grass or hay to provide cushioning for the young ones. The couple of crows labored each day, diligently building the nest using all but their beaks and claws. As it took shape I realized that the nest is nothing short of an architectural marvel! From where do the crows get this knowledge? It must have been imbibed in them since generations! After the nest, came the eggs-four tiny eggs. For someone who has only seen chicken eggs, this was a pleasant surprise. The crow’s eggs were light greenish-blue with black speckles-in short, they looked mysterious. I couldn’t wait for them to hatch, how I wanted to see those small bundles of joy! The female crow sat on the eggs for the
entire day while her male counterpart flew around in search of food. When it was sunny, the male crow would perch himself above the female in such a manner that his shadow would fall on her. Such love for each other...humans could learn a few things from them! But unlike humans crows have to also protect their eggs from their own kind, other rogue crows who find satisfaction in stealing eggs. This happened to my crows as well (I would like call them mine even though I didn’t actually own them). One morning as I checked on the crows, there were only three eggs left. I was heartbroken to see this, but the crows were unperturbed. The mother took care of the remaining three with the same zest, as if this incident hadn’t happened at all. They sure knew how to move on with life. In a few days, one of the eggs hatched. Out came the tiny pink baby crow, completely bald and blind. My excitement knew no bounds. It was like a baby being born into my own family! It had a large head with big black eyes. The flimsy neck would always be bowed because it didn’t have enough strength to lift up its head. The mother would constantly preen the baby to keep it clean. Apparently there were ants in the nest, so the crows tried their best to keep them away. And so it went on, daily I was at the window observing the parenting of the crows. It was so flawless! In the mornings, the father crow brought scraps of meat for the young ones. This was the time the mother would take a break. On sensing their father near, the baby crow would crane his neck and open his beak wide to receive the small morsel. After the feeding was done, the father would fly away and the mother would then resume her duties. They had such a sense of responsibility in them-the father sharing his duties with the mother so naturally. And here we humans bicker and fight when it comes to taking care of our child (not everyone, mind you). Everything was going fine now. I couldn’t keep myself from being mesmerized by this daily routine of the crows. I was tracking the growth of the chicks, waiting for them to grow their feathers and then eventually watch them fly away. But then tragedy struck and all my fantasies came crashing down. I woke up one morning and I went to the living room window to check on the crows, only to find the nest completely empty. Not a sign of the chicks, the nest appeared as if it had always been empty. The nest showed no signs of a struggle. I could hear a cacophony of crows, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Where had their chicks gone? Did some bird take them away at night...but the mother had always been there. Were they hunted by other crows? It’s something I would never find out.
I had a wild hope that the chicks would suddenly reappear in the nest. But it was not to happen. They were gone and would never come back. I would never know what befell them. I decided to keep the nest as a remembrance, but after repeated requests from my parents I had to do away with it. The nest is gone and so have the crows, but they will always linger in my memory. What is better, watching a crow build his nest or watching him tend to his young ones? I surely cannot decide which of these is better, but I know nothing can be worse than watching them suddenly disappear.
P.S: All events mentioned above are true.