[Tweeters] New-to-me raven behavior

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Sun May 12 13:07:56 PDT 2019

Hi Tweets,

Just after completing this morning’s monthly bird census in Lincoln Park (West Seattle), I heard some crows and went to see what the fuss was about. There were perhaps 5-6 crows in a Western Redcedar, about 7’ up, squawking occasionally and looking down. I was probably less than ten feet away, but still it took me a while to find the well-hidden raven below them (identity confirmed by call and a glimpse of his beak), on a branch and tight up against the tree. Our census group had encountered a raven family elsewhere in the park, but this raven was almost silent and on his own.

I couldn’t figure out what he was doing at first. He seemed to be pretending to be a Pileated Woodpecker, hitting the bark with his beak then working it, occasionally peeling a strip. He continued doing this for perhaps ten minutes while I watched, trying to see if he might be collecting bark strips or twigs for a nest (even though it’s past raven nestbuilding time), or even eating bugs. I didn’t see any evidence of any of those.

Then as I moved a little, my binoculars happened to point further downward — which is when I saw the feathered edge of a Barred Owl huddled against the cedar trunk perhaps 18” below the raven. This situation continued for maybe another 5-10 minutes as I watched. At no point did the raven face the owl, thought the owl never took its eyes off the raven. Then something changed (I don’t think I triggered it – wish I knew what did) and everyone flew off. I followed the owl for a while but the raven didn’t reappear.

Has anyone else observed a “bark attack” by a raven as an aggressive signal toward an owl or other potential predator? I poked around a bit in BNA and elsewhere and didn’t find mention of it, but haven’t yet spent a lot of time researching.

I’ve posted a photo here<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/46918771415/in/dateposted-public/> to show how close the raven and owl were – not a great photo because it was quite dark and branchy in there, but will give you the sense of their positions.

Good birding to all in this gorgeous spring!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Trileigh Tucker
Pelly Valley, West Seattle
Natural Presence Arts website: <applewebdata://695DA9EC-2C49-4A1D-A921-52BE30A76434/Naturalpresence.wordpress.com> h<https://naturalpresencearts.com/>ere<https://naturalpresencearts.com/>
Photo Gallery: Flickr<https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/albums/72157661836833455>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20190512/1654129b/attachment.html>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list