Sunday, August 23, 2009

Skunk Friend Plus a Samantha the Raven Update

From Rhode Island contributor, Karen Anne Kolling--

Several times this week, I've seen one of our neighborhood skunks in the yard or my next door neighbors' yard when I was filling the deck feeders early in the morning. I try not to startle her (or him), but she hightails it off and hides behind something, not very well, actually, since having a big white stripe on one's back is not conducive to blending in to green shrubbery.

Yesterday, I saw that she was underneath the deck, since I could see her stripe through the deck boards, so I gently pushed some of the shelled peanuts through the gaps. It didn't startle her, and she snarfed them up.

I guess that's why today this happened :-)

(This is a super shot of skunk feet. Look at the front paws and compare the rear feet. They look like feet from two different animals. D.B.)
(Has Skunk got a peanut in her paw? D.B.)

(Suddenly I began thinking about molars for grinding peanuts but as Skunks are omnivores, no doubt they've the dental equipment for full spectrum food as we do also. D.B.)
Are those sharp teeth, I'm thinking?

p.s. The focus isn't good, but those look like pretty sharp claws, too.
Oh yeah, those teeth look like needles and the claws? Those too look finely honed. Add the aroma and it's a wonder that skunks are ever predated upon at all.
Remember when Carol Vinzant, our favorite boffo Squirrel rehabber, got involved with Samantha the flightless Raven who lives in the cemetery? Carol has sent a fascinating but worrisome update concerning Samantha--


We took Jolly [her dog, D.B.] by his favorite cemetery this afternoon and the guy who leaves the nuts for the squirrels let us in and let Jolly lay in the grass. I asked how Samantha the raven was doing. Turns out she might get evicted. They just discovered she’s picking off pigeons. And somehow they think that’s a bad thing. So they’re looking for a place for her.

Carol Vinzant

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the update. Poor Samantha Raven, she seems to enjoy living in the cemetery and another "placement" might not be as safe for her. Besides she'd miss her daily visit from her three Crow friends.

Should we seriously be looking for a new place for her?

But wowie zowie, so Samantha’s been picking off pigeons? I would absolutely love to know how she does it being she’s unflighted. Has anyone actually seen her do it? Or has she just been seen eating pigeon corpses? She could be munching pigeons which died from other causes. On the other hand she might just have found a clever Corvid pigeon hunting technique. My interest is tremendously peaked. Any chance of finding out the real scoop?

Donegal Browne
P.S. I asked Carol if they were seriously looking for another home for Samantha Raven and it appears that they are. Anyone from the area have a possible spot for her?


Karen Anne said...

I think Samantha may be getting a bad rap about catching pigeons. I hope whoever is in charge of her living arrangements (I couldn't find the original posting about her) can be convinced of that and will let her stay.

I looked on the web, and found that ravens are big at scavenging already dead animals. Among numerous other citations:

"Ravens are scavengers. When approaching dead animals, often the raven will land a short distance away, then hop forward or sideways to the carcass. ...but they will also hunt for mice, lizards, small birds, snakes, insects, and berries."

I find it pretty unimaginable that a flightless raven could take out a bird the size of a pigeon, esp. on a regular basis.

Donegal Browne said...


I have a real tendency to agree with you. I'll put more detailed comments on the main page along with your comment.