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I have had a pair of carrion crows nesting near my home, but over the last few weeks the female has lost all of her tail and flight feathers. I was wondering if you had any idea what this could be and whether there is anything I can do to help?

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  • I have had a pair of carrion crows nesting near my home, but over the last few weeks the female has lost all of her tail and flight feathers. I was wondering if you had any idea what this could be and whether there is anything I can do to help?

If the bird has truly lost all flight and tail feathers, then the bird will be unable to fly and needs to be rescued and cared for by an experienced corvid friendly rescue, which should be able to provide long term care. This would become obvious, when she leaves the nest to help her partner to find food for her youngsters, which usually happens after about 10 days after they have hatched. A complete loss of these feathers is unusual and may have serious underlying causes, which will most certainly need long term care. Partial feather loss is more common, and usually caused by fights or trauma, but there are usually other injuries to find as well. Also, please bear in mind that the beginning of the breeding season is also the beginning of the annual moulting season for birds older than a year, which usually finishes in late autumn. This means that birds will gradually replace all their flight and part oft their tail feathers. The emphasis lies on gradually, and not all at once. Crows aren’t prone to suffer of a shock moult, like other bird species may do. For now you can only help to provide food and water, and if the bird would become grounded, then you could try to retrieve the bird and bring the bird to a corvid friendly and experienced bird rescue.