The Raven

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Edgar Allan Poe ‘The Raven” 1845

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Perched he was, together with his raven feathered mistress, high above me on top of the Wrigley Memorial on Catalina Island.

Ravens mate for life, but comes mating season the male has to bring the female presents of twigs and branches to repair last year’s nest. These two were apparently in the midst of preparing to raise a new family, because that was how I discovered them – the male came flying in with a particularly nice small branch. Once he sat on the ledge I noticed that it was indeed a raven; when sitting still their long throat feathers flutter in the wind, which makes these birds easily distinguishable from crows.

After some arranging of the new addition to the abode, high up on the memorial, the male raven took off again; maybe Madame was not yet satisfied.

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Apparently the time of perching and sitting and saying nothing more is still a way off for this particular member of the species; his mate seems to keep him busy.

6 Replies to “The Raven”

  1. I don’t think we have either ravens or crows here. We have a big, black, raucous bird called a grackle. BTW, in AZ, I saw an oriole. I’d never seen one before. They are gorgeous. They also have a different kind of blue jay. We have a crested one, theirs isn’t crested.

  2. Check this out – ravens do live in Texas:

    http://www.passporttotexas.com/birds/oct01.html

    But I must admit, I never see them myself except on Catalina Island. Apparently they do not like to share their quarters with humans and crows, which again seems to be proof that ravens are highly intelligent.

    Grackles we have here, too, although not in the city. But driving out a short distance one can see them. They seem to like hot, arid regions. I remember seeing lots of them in Phoenix and Las Vegas – especially in LV you can see them everywhere, particularly on parking lots, parading around and seeking shelter from the heat under parked cars. A funny lot, those grackles.

    Blue Jays are quite common around here. We sometimes go up to the park to “Woodpecker Central,” a canyon where woodpeckers and blue jays are constantly staging noisy fights for – well, I do not know what, given their completely different lifestyles. Maybe they just like to liven up their monotonous days of pecking away and jaying around.

    I have never seen an oriole. Lucky you, that must have been quite exciting. They are such colorful birds. Another bird on my “must see” list is the cardinal. Even if that involves a trip to the East Coast, one of these days I am going to spot one.

    By the way – the photos from your trip were just gorgeous. I am sure you had a wonderful, relaxing time with just the right amount of exertion to go and see wonderful things, places and people.

  3. Well, I’ll be darned. Ravens do live in Texas! The cardinal is absolutely gorgeous and has a lovely song. I hope you get to see one. Have you ever seen a painted bunting? Do you have them there? An amazing bird. They used to come to the bird feeders at our previous house. We also have titmice and chickadees here, which I like. Last year at Big Bend, there was one of these hanging around in the RV park. That was exciting, because they only are found in S. Texas and Mexico. I’d never seen one.

    I rather like grackles. They have a lot of attitude.

  4. The woodpeckers are our most colorful bird along with quite a few hummingbirds. Our best singers are mockingbirds, who are currently singing and jumping to impress the local ladies.

    I am quite sure that I saw an American Redstart last week in Griffith Park, but the habitat maps say they shouldn’t be in California. Hmmmm…

  5. That vermilion flycatcher is quite the bird. The little painted bunting looks like an easter egg with wings. Why do Texas and Mexico get all the best looking birds?

    I should be outside taking photos of the jumping mockingbirds, but I have so much to do and such tight deadlines that even sticking my nose in here makes me feel guilty… oh, well…

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