I spent much of the day outside, cleaning up the porch, washing down patio furniture, getting the telescope out and making sure it was working and properly aligned. While out there, there was a war going on overhead.
When I first went out I could hear what I thought was a “mass murder” or crows. There were a LOT of birds circling out there.
I was an idiot when I first went out. I could hear all of the activity, but I didn’t pick up my camera as I went out. Sitting out in the open in one of the pine trees just off the back of our hill, plain as day, were two red-tailed hawks. They were stunning, gorgeous, and it was the shot of a lifetime occuring while I didn’t have my camera. *sigh*
So, that explains why all of the birds are upset. I don’t know how many there were. There was one time when I counted 35 in the air above me in one spot, but there were also other groups in the air out over the canyon, as well as many roosting in the trees. I’m guessing 50 minimum, maybe as many as 75.
And to my surprise, they were ravens, not crows. I’ve definitely NEVER seen that many ravens in one group! I thought they were much more solitary. But the Cornell Merlin app positively ID’s their calls as ravens. And you can see that they have the distinctive wedge-shaped tail, where crows are flat across the back of the tail, like a fan. These birds were all soaring far more than flapping, another distinction between ravens and crows. These birds all have four long “finger” feathers (ravens) and not five shorter “finger” feathers (crows).
I have no clue what brought them all together, but there were something on the order of five dozen ravens circling over the neighborhood all day and making quite a racket.
Out of the sun cam this guy, the arch enemy of the ravens. One of the two red-tailed hawks.
And this one is obviously missing some feathers on his left wing. That’s a very large chunk of his wing that’s missing! He seemed to be no worse for wear, maneuvering normally, but obviously the ravens had won that battle.
There’s the two of them. And as you can see in both pictures, it’s obvious why they’re called “red-tailed” hawks.
Meanwhile, back in the canyon, after the hawks were scared off, all of the circling ravens came to rooste in two or three tall pine trees.
Standing room only! In addition to this tree there were two others with smaller groups of ravens roosting.
Cue Tippi Hedron and Rod Taylor!