A RAVEN’S VALENTINE GIFT

Tofino got a rare dump of snow! I love to get snow shots but hardly am able to. So when It snowed I grabbed my gear and headed out for a snow shoot! While getting the boat ready (my boat is out of water,I have to haul it down to the shore by hand. It has wheels on the rear end) I noticed my two Raven friends Robbie and Rita had flown over to say hello! Of course they came over because I normally toss them a few crackers. Once I was eating a cinny bun when Robbie wanted some! How did I know he wanted some……he left the cracker on the ground and gently cawed to me! If you have ever heard a Raven’s call it is a very distinctive sound. So I shared my cinny with him….which was a mistake because now he wants just sweet treats!

So while getting my gear together I realized I hadn’t anything for them? But then I realized I had brought “for me” a sweet treat! A lemon flavoured Danish! I said what the hell and tore off half and threw it to him! What I didn’t realize was that there was a Gull close by watching as well! Once I threw it onto the snow that Gull was on it immediately! Robbie saw this and grabbed that Gull and fought for the Danish! He kicked the crap out of that Gull! He always does,Rita is far less aggressive.

With his hard fought prize in his mouth I was amazed to hear Rita very gently cawing in short bursts. She hopped over (due to the snow depth) to Robbie and he promptly placed it in her bill!

I found the moment very touching to be honest! I rewarded Robbie with the other half of the Danish and you can bet your last dollar not a Gull stirred! Robbie rewarded me with some gently soft cawing as well!

Raven’s hold a very special place in my heart! True I love Eagles but a Raven is something almost mystical to me! When they look at you It feels like they are seeing with human like eyes! I enjoy talking to them but rarely do they talk back.

72 thoughts on “A RAVEN’S VALENTINE GIFT

  1. That’s a great story Wayne. I have remarked many times that people toss the phrase “bird brain” around … what a misnomer that is. They are intelligent. I love that Robbie decides crackers are not as tasty as a cinny bun and now he’ll be clamoring for a lemon Danish too. This is a great series of photos telling the story and eventually giving his claimed prize to his sweetie.

    1. True but remember that Raven’s are the Einstein’s of the avian world and not all birds are as smart!
      Crow’s use gravity to open shells for instance! They fly up high above a rock surface or road and drop it. After several attempts the shell breaks open.
      I have seen Gull’s trying to do the same thing but drop the shell on the soft sand!
      They mimic without understanding whats going on.

      1. And I read or heard somewhere that crows also place nuts in the street for cars to run over them, then they can eat the nuts after the shell broke, which they could not access otherwise.

      2. I have seen something like this before when I think about it. I’ve seen Crows dropping shells on local roads to open them but because cars use the roads the cars ran over some. It may of been an accidental discovery?

      3. They are pretty smart to figure it out but you’re right, they might have seen a walnut fall from the tree and a car ran over it and something clicked in their brain.

      4. then it must of been a matter of monkey see monkey do I suppose. I do believe this must be localized behaviour as it must be observed by other birds. A bird 200 miles away isn’t going to learn this but If any of these “taught” birds migrate to another location….yes it could propagate.

  2. Ravens 1 Gulls 0 with a photographer on the sidelines to catch the winning move. Robbie Raven won my heart when he ended his victory dance by giving the well fought for danish morsel to Rita. Sounds like the gulls learned a valuable lesson today- don’t come between a raven and his sweet treat. Hoping we will be seeing more snowy shots from Tofino.

    1. ha ha…..good description Beth! I once saw Robbie overturn a Crow and pin it with his huge talon! He never hurt it. Just wanted the Crow to understand that “you don’t take food from me”! You should of heard all the Crows around too! It truly was a Murder of Crows!

    1. I knew you’d love this story Annette!
      What I didn’t say is that when I threw the other half to Robbie he refused to give anymore to Rita….so she snatched some from his beak!
      I guess he figured sharing time was over!

  3. Your raven account and photos are wonderful. Lovely for Valentine’s. 💛 The ravens here in NWT are huge and very smart (have to be to survive this cold). I call them the bikers of the bird world. I have at times heard them “talking” gently to each other. They are so intelligent and as your experience proves, very able to communicate in a way that another species understands.

    1. Yes,you would know more about Raven’s up north Lynette then down here. There are far more up north. Their wing span is 4 feet!
      I listen to them and try to imitate. Raven speak isn’t exactly well known but to a few I suspect.
      They supposedly talk better than a Mynah bird or African Grey!

      1. They are a tough-looking crowd, and yes, huge. I have seen them working as a team to get food, too, very intelligent behaviour. I didn’t know they can talk better than a mynah or an African grey – amazing. A colleague has a pet raven (it stays outside) but she feeds him and talks to him (I’ve heard her – he waits outside of work for her) and he overnights in her garden shed.

      2. Oh how I would love to have a Raven friend! I researched and found it is illegal to own one but you can import a Caledonian Raven.
        Tell your friend I’m very jealous of her!

      1. I’m not too sure about that idea, Wayne. Ravens make all kinds of liquidy sounding gurgles I don’t think I could do. And I wouldn’t want to say the wrong thing.

  4. Great story and shots, Wayne. I am not too thrilled at the attack on the poor gull. Gulls need food too, poor things. However, Robbie giving Rita the piece of Danish is really awesome. And you captured that. Just awesome!!! Ravens (at least these two) look like they are quite large. Of course, when they are being fed buns and Danish goodies, they will naturally look like the well fed creatures they are, heehee. Do you ever feed the gulls?

    1. In the winter time all animals require more calories to help keep them warm. I am partial to Raven’s,so they get crackers or my Danish from time to time. No I do not feed the Gulls. They rush in and bully the other birds.

    1. actually….he did! A beautiful tail feather! It tumbled and floated downwards to me (reminded me of Forest Gump’s feather to be honest) but got stuck on the edge of a roof about 10 feet up! I was going to go home and get a long pole to knock it down but noticed later on that the wind must of dislodged it as it wasn’t there anymore? I looked all around but couldn’t find it so assume some passerby must of nabbed it?

    1. It wasn’t very peaceful when that Gull grabbed Robbie’s treat I’ll tell you!
      With him giving the treat to Rita was surprising but not unexpected as Raven’s do share all the time. Eagles share as well.
      The sounds she made I had never heard before? It was low and very gentle.
      Very happy you enjoyed it Kamal!

    1. He really is a fighter but Rita is actually very shy. I toss a cracker at her and she’ll jump as If I was trying to hurt her. You’d think by now she’d understand more about me?
      I love my Raven friends! Lynette says she has a colleague that has a wild one! I’d love to have one as well but when I looked into it turns out it’s illegal to own a Raven! For some reason it’s ok to import one? I think the only Raven you can get is a Caledonian Raven. I’m not familiar with them? You can train a Raven to speak and they speak fluently! So much so one must of been near loggers as It imitated a chainsaw and the logger even knew what kind of saw it was!
      I put them right after humans for intelligence! Others say Elephants or Dolphins or the African Grey but for me the Raven rains supreme!

      1. Ravens, and of course their cousins the crows are definitely smart. They’re also kind of mystical! I haven’t had too many encounters with them. Maybe some day! I personally don’t think I would want one for a pet, but if I ever see one visiting my garden I’ll make sure I have a lemon-flavored Danish! ;)

  5. Awesome story and photos, Wayne! The snow lays an interesting backdrop for the birds. I’ve read that ravens are in the top 10 of the most intelligent creatures on Earth, good company with whales, dogs and elephants!

    1. Thank you Terri! Right time,right place eh! You just can’t teach anybody that,they have to experience it and that usually means they see something amazing but do not have camera!
      Because Ravens can figure things out and use improvised tools I put them at the top of that list. The only other animal that does that is us.
      If we get a chance to come back as any animal I’m choosing a Raven!

  6. This is so awesome Wayne, I to love Ravens, they are so intelligent and beautiful. How sweet that he shared his treat. I love the sound they make as well. I will have to do that also, take some extra treats out there for them. I had some left over cooked chicken awhile back and threw it out by the woods and got some video of them eating that. But I had the camera to high and I mostly got just their heads. Great cover photos as well. :)

  7. What a great story! Gulls can be really aggressive – I guess they have to, to survive. But ravens are so intelligent and now, obviously, caring as well. We only have crows here – same family though – and they are pretty smart, too.

  8. Incredible images. Ravens are very special to me, too. I even named my home after them. A large raven family lives in my area. I have yet to be able to photograph them, or rather, I feel they are too magical to photograph. :)

    1. Thank you JD! I think I use to be a Raven in a former life as they seem to seek me out.
      Robbie doesn’t seem to mind posing for me…….as long as he can get his sweet treat!
      Rita is always skittish however. She asks Robbie for some and of course he gives it to her.

  9. What a great series of shots! We have Forest Ravens in Tasmania, no crows. They are pretty shy while the Currawongs are more curious and will interact with caution.

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