Redwing Blackbirds v. Ravens

Bear and I headed out for a walk yesterday on a cool-ish, breezy morning. News no journalist reports…

The longest lenticular cloud I’ve ever seen stretched over Mt. Blanca. Unfortunately I was driving during the best parts. Cloud building is dynamic, so I wasn’t able to get a photo until the best part was over. A cold front is coming in, pushing out a warm front. That warm air on the ground and the cold air from the front had a fight in the sky. I watched several fluffy clouds stretch out and layer under the heavier, higher, cold air.

There were scenes of sorrow, too. A couple of broken duck eggs. Coyotes? Or what I saw in the sky, a raven assault team. There were three getting no end of shit from a large team of red wing blackbirds. I watched the show. The ravens feinted, dived, swooped, soared and inevitably surrendered and landed on the ground. As long as they were flying, they were harassed.

I thought of how we’re programed to cheer on the little birds, but ravens have to eat, too. I was reminded — again — how cleanly impersonal is nature. It’s all kill or be killed. I thought immediately of the virus. It’s just doing its thing. The raven is several times the size of a redwing blackbird, but it doesn’t want to get hurt. I watched several of these battles yesterday and not ONCE did the raven attempt an attack on any of the redwing blackbirds. It simply tried to get away. Hmmmmm….

Thinking about this, I felt tears well up. Everything is there, every answer to every question, every damned time.

And this ran through my mind:

Have you…
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew)…

Robert Service, “The Call of the Wild

Now here’s a picture of Bear sleeping on my foot right now.

14 thoughts on “Redwing Blackbirds v. Ravens

  1. It is true, I have yet to see a Raven turn on a smaller bird…penance for the eggs…a teasing game…?? I wonder.

  2. Circle of life… I saw a hawk being harried by some sparrows. It was surprising that the hawk didn’t turn and snatch one out of the sky.I suppose that at least some of the time the little ones win and some times they don’t. Love the photo of Bear – obviously she loves you…

  3. There are rather too many big birds that are living around my home at the moment. They came in numbers into town last summer. I’ve seen far fewer small birds as a result, hence the need to ensure that we are not pulling out the prickly plants that provide good habitat for the small birds.
    There are some animals that kill for the fun of it, like a pack of feral dogs. Have even seen a David Attenborough documentary of a killer whale throwing around a seal. Who knows though, maybe it was training a younger whale in the hunt?
    Unlike humans, animals don’t generally kill more than they need, but where they do they thankfully don’t have the technology to kill millions.

    • I wonder if the fires last year altered the bird dynamic where you live. I guess a dog ripping apart a toy is killing for the pleasure of it. When things are as they’re supposed to be out there I feel good about it. I felt good watching the birds yesterday working out their population problems. But we have a “scourge” of European ringneck mourning doves that have driven out our native mourning doves. All this happened during the time I was in California and I’ve returned to see these giant, screaming weirdos. People are allowed to hunt them; they are that out of control.

      • I think the fires did alter the bird dynamic, but the changes were evident before the fires, so I think the drought had a bigger influence. Anyway, they’ve decided they like it here.
        We saw some feral doves recently. I wonder if they are the same as in your area? I’m not looking forward to them taking over. Pot shots are not allowed here.

  4. where else to lay weary head than on the person you loves most foot so they do not get up and make you walk further. beautiful Bear.

Comments are closed.