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In early March 2004, several of our crows paired up and started to build nests. In total, four pairs formed (including the famous “Betty”), all of whom laid eggs. Unfortunately, several of the nests were poorly constructed (perhaps because we failed to provide the appropriate materials), and we had to remove eggs because they could not have been successfully incubated by the birds themselves.

Crow nest Betty did succeed in making a good nest, and successfully incubated her eggs until they hatched in mid-May 2004. Sadly, one of her chicks died shortly after hatching, and we had to remove the other one because its parents were not brooding or feeding it sufficiently. We successfully hand-raised Betty’s surviving chick (named “Uék”, which is the word for crow in the New Caledonian ‘Koumac’ language) to post-fledging age, along with three chicks that had hatched from artificially
incubated eggs.

Two nestlings Juvenile on arm

You can see more photos of the nests, eggs, and chicks on Nestling photos. A description of what we have discovered about the development of tool use and manufacture in the hand-raised chicks (plus movies of them) can be found on the Development page.