Common Ravens in the Hood

On January 4, 2021 a Common Raven flew over my head as I was returning to my house from my morning walk and landed in my neighbor’s fir tree, where it appeared to be eating a snack. Its dark feathers caught the winter sun and the glossy black feathers appeared to glisten. It was still there when I emerged from the house with my camera.

Common Raven with food

Almost every day as I walked up or back on the bike trail I could hear the deep croak of one calling. When I looked up, I could see it fly from somewhere within the apartment complex on the north side of the arroyo to somewhere to the south – perhaps to do some scavenging near one of the restaurants on Montgomery Blvd.

While it perhaps used the fir tree as its munching spot on other occasions, I didn’t see a raven in the tree again until February 23 when again one flew in as I was arriving home. Before long it was joined by a second raven. My heart jumped. Maybe they would decide to build a nest there!

2nd Raven turning its back on the tree

After an exchange of hoarse calls, the second raven flew off – and was quickly followed by the other one. Clearly, the second raven was not happy with the location.

One of the ravens visited the following day.

Last visit

I did not witness any more visits to the fir tree. At the end of March, I drove through the apartment complex with my window down, stopping to scan through the dense branches of the ponderosa pines, but didn’t see or hear any corvid activity.

Almost every day I continued to see a Common Raven fly from the apartment complex, across the end of my street, and then disappear somewhere to the south.

Then, on June 4 I went out behind my house when I heard the high hoarse calls of juvenile Ravens. The two parents were perched in a tree

Parent turning away from juveniles

and the just-fledged juveniles were squawking on top of a fir tree. I watched as one of the juveniles flew over to the parents, then fly back again.

Fledglings

For the next few days, each time the adults would fly on their route south, they were followed in a long line by the loudly calling juveniles. 

While it is usually singing American Robins that I hear in the pre-dawn period in June, for the next week, the first sound I heard when I opened my eyes in the morning was the shriek of juvenile ravens.

Gradually, I heard them less and less. By June 19, they must be exploring apart from their parents. I arrived home to see the three juveniles fly into the conifer across the street. After retrieving my camera and walking towards the tree, they gradually left until only one remained.

Half-hidden juveniles

Then it also flew off to towards its siblings.

The juveniles continue to hang around the nest area, but I only occasionally hear them shrieking – usually in the late afternoon. It’s undoubtedly when they are hungry and wish the parents would bring them food rather than having to find it themselves.

It has been fun to have the raven family in the neighborhood. When the juveniles disperse for good sometime in July, it will be sad to see them go.

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