Crazy Attack Crows?

If a crow seems angered by your presence, swooping at you or cawwing aggressively, it is most likely NOT just some crazy crow. It is probably a parent protecting its eggs and nest. It is easy to dismiss why a crow might be getting loud and obnoxious, disregarding the obvious---crows have a life too. What mother wouldn't accost a stranger who walks into their baby's nursery? That is exactly what we are doing when we walk by a tree. They have no walls, they have no privacy, but they have a lot of love and a strong instinct to protect their young. Read more here. (I am fortunate to live in Seattle where it seems the crows are interesting enough to make the news quite often! Yay Seattle! Yay for crows!)

Common Ravens and Egg

Common Ravens and Egg Originally uploaded by poecile05
This is the second raven baby/egg photograph and post. Thanks to the photographer, poecile05, for sharing this on flickr and allowing us to blog it. If you read yesterday's post, you know how much a baby raven can and must consume. I shared with you a small part of a book I read, "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich. The high maintenance baby ravens don't stop with just a need for attention and an enormous amount of food. They also require some special attention to see to their "bathroom" needs, if you will. You may recall from yesterday's post that nestlings eat A LOT of food. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yep! That is right. Almost every amount that goes into the baby ravens must come out. Since they can't lift themselves up to hang over the side of the nest for at least a couple of weeks, their parents must take care of this expediently. Remember, if they eat six woodfrogs and two mice IN ONE FEEDING, then you can imagine how much waste that much food produces after EACH and EVERY FEEDING! They would quite literally be drowning in a bowl (their nest) full of their own liquid dung (also known as 'mutes'). In order to prevent this from happening, the parents scoop up the "mute" with their beaks as it is coming out and dumps it over the side of the nest. They are the equivalent of live pooper-scoopers. Not so fun, not so simple. Imagine how much time this takes and then recall how much food they need. You can see clearly how much time parenting takes in a raven's life. We are lucky as humans that we only need to go to the local grocery store to obtain food for our young. Imagine the raven's life...

Common Raven Nestling and Egg

I found this photograph on flickr as well (my new favorite place to find great corvid pictures!) and I had to share it. Look at them! They are soooooooo cute. They look like baby dinosaurs. While I have your attention, let me share a little story about baby ravens with you. I discovered this stuff while reading "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich. In case you are debating on whether you should check it out, you definitely should. Back to my point... When ravens are babies, also known as nestlings, they require an enormous amount of food and parental care. Ravens need a lot of protein to grow healthy and strong. In his book, "Mind of the Raven", Heinrich tells us what he fed six nestlings at about five weeks of age: Day One: One woodchuck and one snowshoe hare Day Two: Three red squirrels, one chipmunk, six frogs, eight chicken eggs (crunched up shells and all) Day Three: Two gray squirrels, five frogs, six eggs, six mice Day Four: One hindquarter of a Holstein calf That is ALOT of food! OMG! He goes on to describe how a few days later EACH of the nestlings could eat six woodfrogs and two mice IN ONE FEEDING! And then they'd be ready in an hour or two to eat the same amount! This is outrageous. Now, I feel infinitely guilty for only feeding them two pieces of bread. Goodness! Young Ravens needs A LOT of care, food, and attention. Our hats go off to the raven parents. And we highly suggest you DO NOT take baby ravens as domestic pets unless you have an enormous amount of time, energy and determination and the resources needed to provide the adequate diet needed for them. I will write more about nestlings and fledglings in future posts, keep your eye out for them!