Oct 06 2010

Wise Guys

Published by at 7:32 am under Crows, Ravens


When I found this photo the other day it brought back memories.  Here are a couple of ravens at the overlook at the Petrified Forest.  What are they doing?  I’ll bet they’re waiting for handouts. 

Back in the early part of this century I visited Death Valley and made a point of stopping at the overlook on the eastern side.  In the parking lot I found a pair of ravens obviously waiting for visitors.  As I parked the car they sized me up.  Likely food source?  “No.  Leave her alone.”

Soon a family mini-van arrived and the kids piled out with snack food.  Jackpot!

One raven chose the six-year-old girl as a likely pushover.  He walked to within 10 feet and faced her, watching every move as she brought potato chips to her mouth.  I could hear his thoughts shouting, “Throw one to me!”

Something about her eye contact said “OK, I’ll give you one” and the raven stepped forward as the girl handed him a potato chip.  His beak was as high as her hand. 

After several chips Mom broke up this conclave.   No problem.  Mission accomplished.

Eastern ravens aren’t as bold around people but they’re still tricksters.  On Sunday I saw two ravens at Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County.  One by one they flew out of sight beyond the hill, then appeared above the trees carrying a pinkish-white teardrop-shaped blob.  A small plucked chicken?  I couldn’t tell what it was but someone would be puzzled to find it missing.

The ravens made my day.  I always enjoy watching the Wise Guys.

(photo of two ravens, courtesy PDPhoto.org.  Click on the photo to see the original.)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Wise Guys”

  1. Marianneon 06 Oct 2010 at 10:11 am

    There are some Common Ravens that live on and next to my property. I love to hear their calls! They are so cool and distinctive!

    You can read more about them and hear their call here:

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_raven/id

  2. Marianneon 06 Oct 2010 at 10:45 am

    I just found the article that was on NPR last week. It discusses the differences between American Crows and Common Ravens.

    You can read the transcript, but I feel that it is more fun to listen to the story, due to being able to hear the differences between crows’ and ravens’ calls. It is a very short story.

    http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=10-P13-00040&segmentID=6

  3. Out walking the dogon 06 Oct 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Crazy about ravens. Saw (and heard) a couple in British Columbia last month. Have never seen NYC’s ravens. Yes, apparently we have a nesting pair in Queens, and single gent in a historic cemetery downtown. Nice post.

  4. Bird Feederson 06 Oct 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Great article, thanks for sharing! I love ravens, by far one of the most intriguing birds to watch (or be watched by for that matter). The photograph of these two ravens is beautiful, great poses and the colors are absolutely fantastic (I love the wood tones of the fence against the warmer colors of the out of focus back ground).

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