It was only three short weeks ago I stood at my back door, delighting in watching a pair of Ravens snowbathing in the yard (back to that in a minute). Now the snow has melted, we have open water on the rivers, ditches filled to near overflowing (the ground isn’t completely thawed) and yet things are already so dry, that we are under severe Fire Danger weather warnings. All in the span of less than a month. This is a mild example of how quickly Nature can enact drastic changes and is an issue that people should always be alert to. Precise types of danger vary from place to place, but the point is Nature has an effect everywhere. Observe always. You never know when your life could depend on it.
Switching gears back to my beloved Ravens … it is one of those types of things that you can’t quite appreciate without witnessing it for yourself. It would have been apparent to anyone observing this pair of corvids, that they were enjoying themselves immensely. They never got more than six feet away from each other as they wove their way back and forth across the yard.
Stretching their bodies out as far as they could reach, they leaned forward – bodies parallel to the ground (rather than their typical upright nature). Their beaks slightly down, so that as they walked the snow scooped up over them as they tunneled their way along. At times they would tunnel their body length or longer. Sometimes they would pause mid-way, sort of rolling their shoulders (if you will) around, rearranging the snow on their backs – almost like someone with an itch directing a good scratch to the right place. Maybe that is exactly what was happening, I’m not quite sure. I imagine the snow getting worked down under or between certain feathers could accomplish that.
From time to time, one would walk over to the other and …I know this may seem anthropomorphic… they would kiss, by rubbing their beaks to each other. It was not a case of bill-polishing where frustration is being expressed. They were behaving like a doting couple, to put it in human terms, and the scene could not have been more endearing.
This year’s newborn Ravens are already fletching out and will be leaving the nest soon, if they haven’t already. They began learning some time ago and will continue doing so throughout their twenty-some year life span. Ravens can identify and remember human faces … and even pass that on to their young. Imagine if people were that talented.
The forecast has temps in the 80’s for next week…..I will do my best to remember the snowbathing while I am sweltering.