We live among ravens. Day in, day out, the raucous calls, mechanical-sounding “toc” notes and powerful wing swishes of these large birds punctuate our soundscape.
The raven was known to First Nations people as The Trickster, for good reason. This bird lives for up 40 years and has a wide range of vocalizations, from the gentlest “coo” to the harshest “kraak’, and everything in between. Ravens mate for life and often the pair will work together to snag a meal, one bird serving as decoy, the other as bandit.
Over the years I’ve watched these birds extracting treats from compost bins, flying along over top of fast moving cars when interrupted from a roadside meal, soaring overhead in amazing aerial acrobatics, and gathering in great mobs to raid apple orchards. But never, until a couple of weeks ago, had I seen a raven picking flowers.
I was in the kitchen when I noticed flowers falling from our Big Leaf maple tree and landing on the patio. At first I thought it was the wind, but there was barely a breeze. When the flowers kept coming at regular intervals, I figured Squirrelly must be at work. I hadn’t seen him (her?) for awhile, so I went to an upstairs window for an eye-level view.
To my surprise, the flower picker turned out to be a raven, moving about the branches, picking large flower stems and dropping them to the patio below. Was this a form of play? Was he trying to impress his lady love? I saw no indication the bird was eating the flowers, and I couldn’t imagine they would make useful nest building material, so I was at a loss to know what was going on. But then again, it was The Trickster, after all.
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