Town Raven

Town Raven
In flight


This is a diary, or rather, field notes written up each day, with the latest entry at the top.

To get the full story, start at the bottom entry in the archive, and read upwards.
Then read the current diary entries from the bottom up as well.

Once you've got the full story, just visit and read the new story for the day!


Location Map

Location Map
This shows where we walk and meet the ravens
The yellow and pink squiggly lines are two walks we take. The yellow one is the one we usually do. The squigglyness indicates how Madame visits her several important sniffing check-points!
We stop several times to feed the ravens, and you can see where they come from.

If you right-click on the image and open it in a new tab, you can then zoom in to see more details.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Ravens - not quite in winter ...!

Since spring this year I've observed a couple of ravens in Llandaff Fields when I was out with Madame Jodi. I've taken quite a few photos, and their behaviour, as well as their segregation from the other birds has been very intrigueing to watch: jackdaws and, since autumn, the little black-headed gulls avoid them, and even the lesser black-backed gulls keep their distance. Magpies and crows don't go near them, and the wood pigeons also keep well away.

In September the Council's Parks Dept. fenced off three of the cricket pitches, to re-seed them. Two of them are in the part bounded by the tennis courts, and the wall and fence segregating this part of Llandaff Fields from the allotments. This part is less frequented, especially now that these two large areas are fenced off.
Joggers and dog walkers still walk round the periphery - but that hasn't bothered the ravens.

Often, they sit on the fence and watch. Madame Jodi made a few attempts at scaring them off, barking and jumping - but as they only flap off to the fence opposite, they all have now decided that this is futile, and don't pay any attention to each other any longer.

On Oct 23rd, Madame did her usual scavenging (which infuriates me!), and found a piece of soggy bread. I don't know if some sea gull had dropped it, or if it had been placed there by the ravens, who do make holes in the ground with their beaks to hide food morsels. That is what Bernd Heinrich describes in his book 'The Mind of the Raven'.

Anyway - I rushed up to Madame Jodi and pulled that soggy piece of bread out of her mouth, scolding her, and threw it over the fence onto the re-seeded cricket pitch. That was just so that she couldn't get at it - the ravens were nowhere to be seen, and had not been around that morning, and I had no thought at all of feeding them. There is sufficient stuff for them to scavenge - they often sit on the rubbish bins near the car park and pull things out.

But - as soon as I had thrown that bread, one raven came swooping from the trees, right into the fenced-off pitch, and eat it. Nice! 

I gawped - that was not something I had reckoned with.

The next morning, this raven, or his companion, sat on the fence of that selfsame pitch - and I swear he looked at me as if to say 'where's my food then?'.

So I went to our butchers (who, incidentally, is the 'dad' of Bas, the four-legged holiday visitor) and begged for some cut-uff scraps of meat, which he happily gave to me.

The next morning, and the following ones, I religiously threw these pieces of meat onto that fenced-off grass plot. Never a raven came ... but the meat had gone the next morning. I suspected the ravens might have either been somewhere else, or might not have been up yet - it was very dark, the clocks had not gone back yet to GMT.

Getting a bit annoyed with this failure, I stopped throwing meat scraps for two days.

And then ... on a lovely, bright and sunny morning, one raven flew down from the trees, sat on the fence and looked at me. He then started to preen his chest feathers, and he made some soft croaking sounds.
Then his companion arrived and both flew off together.

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