A pair of ravens came to PsiKeep over a year ago.. I had heard them for several years cawing across the road and up the long slope of the mountain behind the property. Last year they decided to move in.
It was early spring, long before the weather cleared, that they began to build a nest in the ponderosa pine next to the house. For weeks they broke off small branches from the of digger pines and scrounged the ground for twigs. They argued with each other over the construction of their enterprise but in spite of all the raucous noise they slowly wove a large nest near the top of the tree. When the rains came they perched near by and waited out the weather. A number of times I thought they would give up but they persisted. Then one day all was still and I knew the female had laid her eggs and was brooding them out.
During that period the male would perch up on the highest branch of a one of the many digger (Blue) pines that grew on PsiKeep. He would wait for an intruder, a hawk or another raven, and launch himself into the air with a fierce attack.
I thought that the ravens would drive the other birds away but what happened was the opposite. The ravens drove off the hawks and that allowed a number of smaller birds, sparrows and jays to thrive without the threat of being preyed on. While the ravens did raid the nest of these smaller birds their range was so large that the population of the other birds increased in spire of a number of their young being fed to the ravens own hatchlings.
One day one of the raven fledgling fell out of the tree. I was rounding the corner of the house to feed the livestock at the end of the day when I saw a body of black feathers n the ground below the Ponderosa tree. At first I thought one of my chickens had died. But as I bent over to examine the body, the bird raised its head, threw open its mouth and looked me straight in the eye as if to say, “Well I’m stuck down here where ever this is. Got food?”