Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ravens on the rooftop

Well, as long as I am being alliterative, why not raucous ravens on the rooftop? Or perhaps what we're dealing with here is a raucous of ravens, somewhat like a covey of quail. All in the style of those idle British gentlemen who many years ago entertained themselves by inventing fanciful terms for family or tribal groups of critters (i.e., an obstinacy of buffaloes, an ambush of tigers or a charm of goldfinches).

However, what I'm writing about is a frequent gathering of ravens on a particular rooftop up the hill from my house. In fact, it often happens more than one time per day. For some days, I've noticed the birds flying uphill over my house to a mysterious landing; for some time, I've heard ravens shouting. A few days ago, I finally walked that street and observed the critters in action with my camera.

At first I only noticed two birds; then it turned out there were three. Then four. Two flew away (the older of the ravens, I would bet), leaving two behind shouting extra loudly.

When all the birds had returned, there were five.

I suspect that the owners of this house are part-timers in Prescott. Otherwise, they'd be throwing shoes, rocks, anything to quiet matters down at their home. As you may have noticed, the roof of this house has two peaks -- which the ravens appear to appreciate.

Furthermore, other landing spots directly across the street include three tall Ponderosas and a power pole. I'll be keeping an eye on this raven collective to see if there are any new developments.


Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

We've a goodly supply of ravens here, particularly at Karrakata Cemetary, couple of blocks away. Fortunately they've not picked our eucalypts to make their homes.

There's a flock of magpies (ca 12-14 of them)that hangs out in the neighbourhood and we cop our share of their attention during the year.


Catalyst said...

Some Phine Photos, Julie, especially the last one!

Maybe the group is called a Poe-full!

Granny J said...

bro -- so ravens are an intercontinental critter.

cat-A -- one of the few times I've really caught ravens in flight! And why not a nevermore of ravens?

Jarart said...

I like those shots, perhaps a family teaching the young what is expected of them. The fanciful terms were great. The one that always struck me was "a murder of crows". Why that, I wonder.

Anonymous said...

Nice shots of the birds. We have a few around here, but mostly smaller black birds and our share of pesky magpies.

Kathleen said...

I love the raucous of ravens!

We have a lot of them out here in Paulden - funny birds. They play in the thermals and will fly in circles and dive.

I had one get in my chicken coop when I lived in Chino Vally - little egg thieves! This one couldn't find it's way out. I had to pick it up like a chicken (by the feet) and remove the critter to the great outdoors. Haha - they act just like chickens - when upside down, they go dormant - fortunately for me at the time!

Great photos - as always *nods*

Anonymous said...

That last shot brings out the straight, unflared tails. Is that how you distinguish ravens from crows, in the field?

The first photo struck me with the geometrical complementarity of the two birds. I thought of the eastern coastline of South America next to the western coastline of Africa.


Granny J said...

jarart -- it certainly seemed to be a family sitution. As for the murder of crows, perhaps those idle gentlemen had just seen that Hitchcock film.

steve -- are there ravens in Europe?

frame -- I love to watch the ravens (and the vultures) riding the thermals.

Boonie2 -- I don't have the problem of sorting the ravens from the crows -- all we have in Prescott is ravens. And I'm fascinated by your observation about the fit of the two birds -- you're so right! In reality, I think one as a parent bird and the other of the new generation.

Anonymous said...

GJ, yes. They are called Rabe.

azlaydey said...

Great photos of the ravens. Especially interesting is the one of the birds in flight. Ravens are interesting cunning birds. I don't get as many of them as I used to. G J,Remember the ravens nest in my neighbors garage? This year included in the many species of birds I have in my yard, are European Starlings. This is a first in the 25 yrs I have lived here. They swish all the water out of the bird bath when they bathe.

Granny J said...

steve -- thanks for the info; I should have known that mischief would be found everywhere.

lady -- sorry to hear about the starlings. Hope they don't take over.

DDD said...

While raucous and nevermore fit perfectly, they are known as an unkindness of ravens. Caution: clicking on the link is sure to use up way too much of your time! But it's fun.

Granny J said...

3-D -- thanks for the reference; it is what I was looking for but did not find; alas, what I Googled across was a much more complete collection with the legit collectives as well as the olde Funne & Gaymes names.

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