Mar 1, 2011

Patience and Ravens: a challenging story starring a 300mm lens

1102 WKR Raven in Larch
Raven in Larch - Winter © Kris Hockley 2011
1102_WKR_Raven in Aspen
Raven in Aspen - Winter © Kris Hockley 2011
For the past 5 days I have been admiring the Ravens, North American Crows, Bald and Golden Eagles, and Magpies. Our ranch, Whistling Kettle, has had a blanket of snow for 4 months now and last night another few inches fell. I didn't just name my business after crows because I live close to the Crowsnest Hwy #3... I am in love with these beautiful, curious, creative, extremely intelligent birds.

The shots above are of ravens a relative of the crow. At some point I should invest in a 800mm lens which will allow me better access to these shy, reserved birds. I'm lucky to get a shot. Seriously, they are not like Vancouver crows which are practically social, city pets. If ravens don't see you, they hear you and will take off to find a perch of solitude somewhere else. Their vocal sounds are bizarre to say the least and have sent chills up my back at times.

David Suzuki, my life long hero, made an amazing HD documentory on crows in September 2010. http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2009/murderofcrows/

Some Info about Ravens
Habitat: Coniferous, mixed forests; coastal, agricultural areas.
Diet and Behaviour: Omnivorous, feeding on whatever available. Specializes in scavenging on large carcasses, descending on road kills, but also kills rodents, robs nests, feeds on insects. Highly intelligent, cautious; follows predators, hunters to take advantage of easy meal. Carries, hides food for future needs. 
Pairs, groups cavort in aerial displays.
Voice: Varied calls include harsh croak, liquid bell-like sounds, screamed kraaah, metallic rattles.
Did you know? Crows and ravens are always at odds. Ravens raid crow nests. Crows often swoop down on ravens while attempting to chase them away.

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