Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ravens in Yosemite

This past week we visited Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake and Yosemite.  Mono Lake was very interesting with the tufas- limestone structures formed underwater.  They are now sticking out of the water due to the large amount of inflow water to the lake which had been diverted to Los Angeles.  The inflow of water to the lake has now been partially restored, however it will take 25 years for the water level to reach the 1965 lake water level.  Mono Lake was the subject of a very large law suit against the Los Angeles Water District- do you remember all the bumper stickers in the 1980's- SAVE MONO LAKE?  I am so glad they saved it. Kudos to Audubon Society and others.

As we entered Yosemite National Park a pair of ravens flew overhead.  That was a very good sign for our vacation.  We also saw ravens flying in the high country up at 9998 feet- so they are everywhere.  I do hope they go down into the valley in winter where food would be more available.    On our return trip through Yosemite National Park we stopped at the park gate to show our park pass.  (By the way- if you are 62 years old you can get a park pass for $10 that is valid in any National Park.  It is good until you kick off- a really good deal.)  At the gate were two very large and sassy ravens.  One was on the roof of the ranger building and the other was on the ground by our car.  A ranger came along and I told her I was admiring the raven pair.  She told us that they stay there all year and the one on the ground is called Bird Dog.  They looked very well fed and up to no good!

We are continuing to watch Raven Tales on the Smithsonian Channel.  These tales are based on indian stories from the First Nation people of the Pacific Northwest.  We are really enjoying these tales and raven is the trickster.  He is lazy and up to something!

I have commissioned a raven hex sign for the space above the garage door.  Kathy, who is a very talented painter, is going to design a raven hex sign for us.  I am very excited about this.  My Pennsylvania Dutch relatives in Lancaster County, PA, had these hex signs on their barns when I was a child..  I always admired them and now I will have one to keep the evil spirits away!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I found a program on the Smithsonian Channel on the television called "Raven Tales".  What a FIND!  They are animated tales of Haida First Nation People of British Columbia.  Raven and Eagle live in the village with the Haida people and interact with them on a daily basis.  Raven is pictured as scheming, lazy, gluttonous and always up to some tricks, but not mean.  And Raven likes to have fun.  The program is so cute and fun- check it out on the Smithsonian Channel.
I had a booth at the craft fair in Napa yesterday.  I was located right under a tree where a pair of downtown ravens have a nest.  I have seen them flying in and out of that tree when there have been young ravens in the nest.  No one in the nest at the present but the ravens were flying around over head all day.  Good company.
I hear noisy crow cawing outside the window at the squirrel who is absconding with the peanuts I put out for crow.  He sounds very upset.  I think I will go take a look.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Could I Learn to Love a CROW?

I have seen nary a raven at my new location except for one raven flying overhead.  The raven was flying very high and fast- going somewhere but NOT here.  I do however have a band of noisy crows.  I noticed these crows stalking around as soon as I moved in.  They come in the morning and stalk around the yards of all the houses on the court looking for food.  So I went off and bought two gigantic bags of peanuts.  We now have a morning routine.  When I wake up I go outside and put the peanuts under the redwood trees with one raw chicken egg.  The scrub jays show up immediately to grab as many peanuts as they can before the crows know what is happening.  The crows are very cautious.  They sit in the trees looking at the peanuts for awhile before they fly down to get the food.  Meanwhile the jays are busy at work getting as many peanuts as possible before the crows make their move.  Eventually the crows fly down one by one to claim a peanut or two.  By this time most of the nuts are gone.  It is fun to watch the crows as they have many of the same mannerisms as their big cousins.  They land on the ground, then they jump forward toward the food- then jump back- forward and back until they grab a peanut.  The jays will not come down once the crows are on the ground.  At this point I go out and replenish the peanut supply so that the crows get their share of the morning's booty.  The crows will peck and eat the egg once the nuts are all gone.
The other day I was out working in front yard planting an angle's trumpet (datura) and I heard what sounded like a high pitched knocking sound.   I looked up and it was a crow.  I didn't know they made such a sound!  He was looking at me and knocking- wow!  I might like crows yet!  But love- hum- after raven there is no other.
Apparently Lindsey Wildlife Rescue has a juvenile blind raven who is looking for a long term home.  Ah wouldn't it be wonderful to have a raven in your life?  It apparently will go to a home out of state.  It is very difficult to keep a wild animal in California, as is everything in California.  One has to get a special PERMIT- oh could take years to get one I am sure.  Anyhow- someone will have a special bird in their life.  Apparently the bird is friendly and is hand fed.  I hope whoever gets the bird is young as they live a good 35 years.