Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Raven Entertainment

Seward, Alaska

For the past week, I have watched RAVENS flying overhead, carrying small sticks quite a distance to a hidden nest site. I wondered where they got all those sticks, and why, with dead sticks available on every tree, they had to fly at all.

This afternoon at the beach, I received one answer as I watched a pair of glossy Ravens actually shopping for their building supplies. Together, they slowly sauntered down the stick aisle, surveying an assortment of bleached, smooth sticks. The female fiddled with a single thin, fancy, curved stick while the male industriously gathered several stout timbers.  With a beak crammed full, he took off to the construction site.

The female continued shopping, evidently very particular. She carefully added several sticks as she walked, all much thinner than the male's selections. Suddenly, she found a real treasure, a string! It was hard to pick up, but she managed to delicately pinch it with the very tip of her bill. I don't know how she could even see it, the other sticks protruded so much. Maybe she felt it with her tongue.

She stood for a few moments, considering the value of this unexpected prize and its precarious location. Then she dropped the whole load on the ground. The first thing she picked up was the string; mmm, it even had a knot on one end! Next, she regathered her load of sticks, thoughtfully reconsidered the placement and dropped it all. Once again, she picked up the string, and restacked the sticks. Now satisfied with the configuration, she flew off to join her mate at the nest site. I wish I could have been there to hear her tell the story of her incredible find. It would rival Antique Roadshow!

Meanwhile, some slackards at the Seward dump lounged about, pilfering trash and exclaimed over marginally edible items from the transfer facility floor.  Others hung out on the nearby trees cracking jokes, watching for opportunity to knock. Then here it came.

Two majestic adult BALD EAGLES soared along the nearby mountain, then veered over towards the building. One wisely kept flying while the other unfortunately chose to land on the roof. The delighted Ravens immediately leapt into action and hovered just above the Eagle, riding the wind expertly. At first, Eagle tried to ignore them, but it was hard with the taunting jeers and those outstretched claws dangling so close. Eye to eye, beak to beak, separated by just enough air to avoid contact, the Ravens played a dangerous game of bravado. Whenever the Eagle glanced away, the Ravens dropped down. When the Eagle stretched up, the Ravens lifted higher. All in all, a very entertaining time for the Ravens.

I had to leave before the game was over, but guessed that it might continue for quite some time… or at least until the next load of garbage arrived and untold wonders disgorged from the truck.

Watching Ravens is never boring!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

 Check out this interesting website about ravens:


  1. Carol, this is a terrific series and story!

  2. OMG! I just read this to Sid. You made our night. Thank you.