There is a bird here, and most everywhere in North America that I love. And so did Edgar Allen Poe for that matter. I have often tried to photograph it but it is even edgier than a kingfisher (and are they shy!). But I have had two opportunities to photograph them this summer. So now I can say, Never More, Never More, or words to that effect. In case you haven’t guessed, I am referring to the raven.
First, why do I like them so much? Most people look upon them as raucous, opportunistic pests. Not I! The raven is one of the most intelligent animals on earth, up there with dolphins! If you don’t believe me do a search on raven intelligence. Not only are they smart but they play! Scientists agree they actually play. They have been seen sliding down snow slopes, mimicking eagles in flight (which I have witnessed) and doing loop the loops in the air. All just for the heck of it!!
So what’s not to love? They also pretend to hide their food cleverly to put other ravens and animals off the track.
Having said all that, they are also incredibly hard to photograph. Not only are they suspicious when you try and take a photo (even yards away), but they are black. Very black, as night, as coal, as a black hole in the universe for all I know. So capturing anything other than a black blob requires proper light. So try photographing something that flies, is suspicious and always seems to have the light behind it. Ha!
However, as I said, I did it -twice!
The first time, I had just finished photographing two Grizzlies and I must confess I was waiting for them to reappear up the river. Then I saw this very accommodating raven posing in a tree, in the right light:
The second time, the raven caught my attention before I saw the eagle. These two birds are very much competitors for the same food at this time of year. Normally, the raven is hassling eagles to get their food. This time the raven was more like a social commentator, watching and talking as the eagle ate a salmon. Ravens are great conversationalists with their cries and their muttering.
This is one ticked off eagle!
At this point the distracted eagle dropped its food to the seeming delight of the raven!
Actually, I have three photo ops with this wonderful bird, and here you can see its love of mimicking, at least I think that’s what it is doing. Or is it the other way round?