December Raven

It’s the first of December and if the rest of the month is anything like Day 01, well… Let’s just say that it will be a fitting end for this particular year. I was hoping for better.

But it’s not all a nightmare. I’ve been putting out bits of “wildlife seeds” over in the far corner of the yard, making peace with the squirrels, but also hoping to entice some larger avian friends. The lighter, smaller, “songbird” feed goes out near the house, but I’ve seen the ravens down in the yard at least once.

Ravens are extremely intelligent, capable of problem solving, using tools to get food, and so on. They also have shown that they can recognize and remember individual humans. (Don’t ever throw rocks or sticks at them – they won’t forget.) While I can’t recognize individual ravens (they’re all just pretty much…black?) I suspect the two that hang around here are regulars.

Hearing one of them in the back yard when I was on a break from the computer, I looked out and saw that it was way down in the lower branches of the pine trees off the back edge of the yard. I thought it might fly away as soon as I got out in the back yard with a camera, and it would most certainly fly away when I walked over to the edge of the hill where I was only 20-30 feet away. But I took out the bag of food, moved slowly, chatted quietly, spread some of that food around as I approached, and took my chances.

It stayed for a few minutes. Deep in the shade and interior branches, so contrast is low and focus sucked a lot as the camera’s autofocus and my standard issue Mark I eyeball both kept trying to focus on all of the small branches in there. But a few came out okay.

Giving me the hairy eyeball, but not fleeing yet.

Definitely a raven, not a crow. All of the standard indicators. For example, the ruff of thick feathers under his beak – crows have smooth feathers here.

Its beak has a downward hook on the end and has a curve, where a crow’s beak has a straight separation.

In this and the next picture you can see the “moustache,” a few feathers that stick out from the forehead out onto the top of the beak.

Plus, the size of the beak is much larger than a crow’s beak. Okay, enough paparazzi, I’m outta here!

Let’s hope for more ravens and other birds and critters, and fewer double shifts of data entry and “challenging” deadlines.

But let’s not bet on it.

Say hello to your birds for me!

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