Smart Birds

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The caption photo shows a local raven lifting off from my watering troughs. In that bird’s wake and floating on water were the furry remains of a catch he/she had dunked. It’s almost common to find unwanted body parts in the watering trough. So far, none have harmed my horses or goldfish and I try netting out visible pieces best as possible.

Our resident ravens constantly are overhead companions, especially nowadays while nest-building. They fly and communicate noisily while preparing a nest in some high tree. Which tree isn’t easily identifiable, but their highly apparent activities mean it’s nearby.

The ravens visit my watering troughs frequently and over time have learned I’m no threat. They drop in and drink while I’m nearby, but aren’t comfortable enough to stay put on a trough’s edge if I become active and search pockets for a camera. So it’s difficult to capture those adult ravens’ watering antics. Photo taking of ravens is easier when they’re training babies. Juvenile ravens aren’t eager to fly from where their parents park them before an adult goes off to hunt. If I’m careful while photographing, the babies hang around although the watching parent from afar makes warnings.

Raven noises are part of the deal and more so during baby-training. Those big birds have so many sounds that experts categorize them into 33 different categories. Experts say that the sound most common is a classic gurgling croak. It’s audible for over a mile. Ravens from far away hear this sound and respond in like. These birds varieties of noises include shrills, rasps, and knocking sounds. Our locals make them all.

This summer as in years past, I look forward to baby-training days. Especially when the parents teach how to soar into the air and then float on breezes. The wonderful vision is of them as a family winging upward, high and higher, and then descending easily to a sweet spot where they simply float. It’s beautiful to behold.

Through this summer, I’ll be hearing these birds, enjoying their antics, cleaning up after them, trying to capture their images, and welcoming that post baby-hatching phase and close-knit family.

Dear Friends: Bird intelligence never ceases to amaze, if only we could comprehend more. Diana

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