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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bird Watching

Click highlighted text for feature length PBS documentary about ravens.

Ravens are fairly common here. They tend to be slightly larger than the crows I left in New York. They're fun to watch. Their movement is hilarious, sometimes they will leap sideways or backwards. It almost looks like the bird is attached to an invisible string that is yanked suddenly, jerking him. But his movement is done with precision, timing and bounce in his legs. The raven is a a genuine acrobat on the ground or in the air. I have watched one chase a small hawk and steal its prey. It is quite a sight.

They are always inquisitive. When I throw corn out for the ducks they will often show up in pairs within a few minutes. Not much goes on they are not aware of. I guess its their business.

In the last few weeks I have seen a raven being pursued in the air by 6 or more grackles on several occasions. They pursue in what appears to be a well thought out attack scenario; they dive bomb from above, strike from all angles on the sides and come up from underneath simultaneously and always end up chasing the intruder off. I imagine they were guarding their homestead.

Today I videoed a pair of grackles on the ground harassing a raven. Their persistence tells me this is non ordinary behavior. Ordinarily they would not associate at all.

I know the grackles have been building nests and I think that is the reason for their unrelenting harassment of the ravens.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.