Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ravens Infiltrate the City, Squirrels Surmount all Odds, and Doorstep Dove Does a New Step

Photo courtesy of funkman.org/animal/bird/crowfamily.html
The Common Raven, Corvax corax
You can see how someone might take this Raven for a Crow at a distance. But the bill shape, the voice, and the SIZE whenever that can be compared in perspective give the species away.

And guess what folks? Ravens have returned to the City and are nesting. How very cool is that? They are some of my favorite birds and also some of the smartest. Who knows, Samantha Raven at the cemetery may have some friends of her own kind one day. Rob Jett, of the City Birder reports on a Raven's nest in Queens County--

Photo courtesy of www.lanl.gov/.../1663.article/d/20075/id/10397
And here we have some of that perspective I was talking about when it comes to the size of these guys. When compared with the human you can see that Ravens are definitely big birdies. This one was captured for a blood sample in research regarding the immune system and West Nile Virus. In some areas 95% of Corvids have died of West Nile.

Interesting tangent--Domestic chickens, Western Bluebirds, and pigeons appear to be immune to West Nile. And the question of course is why?

In the when there is a will there is a way category. I particularly like the tail flopped over the top for added balance. And by the way, there is a baffle on that pole. Hasn't stood in this guys way one little bit.

It turns out that Doorstep Dove has particularly grand balance. For whatever reason she decided that when I came to the door, that she'd go into a freeze, take a beat, and then continue her foraging. Note her left foot in the air.

Here is the what-are-you-looking-at moment.
Then she turned and began to make her way in the other direction, took a freeze with her right foot up, took a beat, and went back to her business.
It's just to show that you can watch an individual bird for years, even of as common a species as a Mourning Dove and then suddenly be surprised by a completely new and different behavior. The lesson being-- no individual living creature is ever truly "common".
Donegal Browne

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