[Tweeters] New-to-me raven behavior

Martin Muller martinmuller at msn.com
Mon May 13 20:36:58 PDT 2019


I’m on digest mode, so maybe this has already been addressed by someone else.

I imagine it's displacement behavior due to “frustration” of not daring to, or being able to (due to dense foliage), directly hit the owl.

I see it with crows perched near raptors all the time. Cawing and cawing at the raptor and not having any visible impact on the raptor, then “venting” by pecking at branches.

Martin Muller, Seattle

From: "Tucker, Trileigh" <TRI at seattleu.edu<mailto:TRI at seattleu.edu>>
Subject: [Tweeters] New-to-me raven behavior
Date: May 12, 2019 at 1:07:56 PM PDT
To: "tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>" <tweeters at u.washington.edu<mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>>

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>

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