Wednesday August 17 2011
The juvenile gang showed up a couple of weeks ago out of the blue: six bold, raucous, rowdy young Ravens perching in a dead tree one evening, surveying their new turf.
Where did they come from? Are they all from the same area? Are they from the same nest? Did they happen upon each other and something made them decide to stick together? Did they recognize the intrepid kinship in each other? Did they recognize that the voices and presence of six are much more intimidating than one?
They're like rambunctious teenagers, punk hats sideways on their heads, pants down below their knees - they swagger, they strut about; they shriek, they yell; there's nothing subtle about them - and why should there be? At this age, they know everything and they let the world know they know everything.
Delightfully irreverent, every morning they wake the dead (and the living) before dawn, hollering at the universe to look out because they're coming.
They set off roaming, terrorizing the neighborhood, bullying little birds, eluding enraged kestrals, daringly dodging disturbed dogs. They satisfy their hunger by persecuting worms and bugs, harvesting seeds from grass stalks, plucking at dead things.
They experiment and play - any toy will do. One Raven breaks a tiny stick off a tree;
another hops close to try and take it; another Raven breaks off his own stick and plays with it
till the first Raven drops his
and hops over to try and take the other Raven's stick.
I walk beneath their tree every evening before they fall asleep, tossing out dog food nibbles. Do they eat it in the morning? I don't know, but they watch me. They are imperiously untouchable. One morning they left behind a huge feather for me as a token of their illustrious Ravenness.
They are acrobats in the air
chasing each other,
diving, tumbling, swooping, soaring, landing
and taking off and screaming their encouragement to each other.
On a sudden whim, they all scatter, shooting across the sky, strewing like sun rays; they reconvene as one to a tree to discuss things, shouting opinions, yelling thoughts, rawking discoveries, muttering comments, murmuring secrets, burbling stories, knocking their magnificence.
They scuffle, they argue;
they say sweet things, they cuddle.
They entertain. They delight.
They bring great luck with their presence, these six rowdy Ravens.
*Worth noting: I borrowed part of my title from Evon Zerbetz's marvelous illustrated book Ten Rowdy Ravens. She also illustrated Dog Days, Raven Nights, by John and Colleen Marzluff, which I'm reading now.