[Tweeters] Punk Ravens In Port Townsend

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun May 31 07:03:43 PDT 2015

While no kind of scientist myself, I did work for a real one back in 1981. That was Dave De Sante, of Point Reyes Bird Observatory ( at the time). I was basically just collecting data for an actual birdologist , without having to worry about all those pesky science and math details myself. It was a pretty good deal.
Anyhoo, the job was a breeding bird survey in the High Sierra, down there in Californy. Over the three month period, I got to see many birds breeding season from start to finish. I would go out on my 40 acre plot everyday and look for birds having sex, building nests, laying eggs, fledging young, etc .It was on this job that I first heard the term "punk" used to refer to adolescent birds. Punks fresh out of the nest.
Like punks everywhere , bird punks are mostly full-grown, but they don't know nothing. They do doofy things, lacking much life experience. Uh, like, they have never had a real job. Yesterday I saw a lifer - my first punk Ravens.
I was down, as usual, at the Marine Science Center here in Port Townsend, snooping around the pier, checking out the aquarium , the plankton, etc., when, walking back out the pier, I heard a Raven calling up on the Fort Worden hill. But it sounded kinda funny. A little high-pitched. "Sounds like a punk to me", I thought.
And that turned out to be true. As I continued down the pier, more goofy Raven voices popped up - along with many pestering Crow calls. The westering sun was in my eye's, so I couldn't see what was going on too well, but I was hearing more and more Raven voices. And more Crow voices too. All coming closer. Walking into the shadow of the hill, I was able to spot the first Raven. Then another, and another! Viewing conditions were not ideal. As I could begin to see better with the sun somewhat out of my eyes, I came up with what I think was 6 Ravens. I didn't bother counting Crows.
Accurate number? Well maybe, but hey, how about you trying to watch a fast moving soccer game (in the air) with both teams dressed in black. And hey the sun was still was in my eyes! Yeah,yeah, just more birder excuses I know, but finally I got the sun behind the hill and was able to definitely see at least 4 Ravens driven into a low fir tree, by the Crows. These Raven's were clearly clueless, clinging together out in the open. Mom and Dad had stopped babying them. "Go find your own food!" the parents told 'em. I imagine the parents laughing together up in a tree saying to each other, "just wait till they find out about Crows".
The Ravens continued their punk behavior. It seemed like they just couldn't believe that the Crows wouldn't just leave them alone. All this Raven/ Crow interaction was creating quite a bit of noise- even exercise walkers in the park were noticing. Finally one Raven nabbed a big chunk of some presumed food item off the ground nearby, followed very closely by about 6 Crows. The whole show moved down the hill, and it was time for me to go.
Jeff Gibsonreporting fromPort Townsend Wa

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