Friday June 8 2012
From a mile away, I hear them Raising Cain: rowdy raucous ravens rambunctiously renting the air with their Rawking and hollering.
I cross the sagebrush flats and head directly for the noise echoing off the red cliff wall. Bright whitewash dribbles down from a black hole indicating where the Raven nest was.
These 4 siblings have already fledged, bright black and brashly bold, commanding the red cliffs and lone juniper tree
and in fact the whole Owyhee world. Perhaps it's not a wise strategy, attracting attention to their young, vulnerable, delectable selves from miles away - but then any predator might well be intimidated by the damage these 4 birds can inflict by sheer brashness and by volume alone.
Irreverently, they yell their emphatic opinions as I approach closer: Intruder! Predator! What the hell is that! Danger! Go away! Dare you to come closer! What the HELL is that!
And when I speak: "Hi Ravens!" - the Ravens shush. We stare at each other in a face-off. They study me, heads tilting and eyes blinking to size me up better, and they begin to whisper amongst themselves, What the hell IS that!, and then pretend to ignore me, picking up sticks and carrying them around, scratching their ears, turning their backs to me (while eyeing me over their shoulders), deliberating my intentions, muttering back and forth under their breaths.
As I climb the hill closer to the Raven Tree, one undaunted bird flies onto a boulder above me and yells Intruder!
"Hi Raven!" I say. He stares imperiously down on me from his safe perch.
"Hi pretty Ravens!"
"You Ravens are noisy!"
The siblings get vocal again.
Rawk! Shriek! Yell!
Boldest Raven dares to leave his boulder and fly low in a circle over my head, staring down at me, before flying off to another perch.
"Bye Ravens!" I say, as I continue climbing up the hill, away from their Raven Tree, but already they are ignoring me, picking up their Raven conversations where they left off:
My canyon! My tree! Look at my stick! Get that bug! I'm hungry! Where's mom and dad! My Kingdom! I'm beautiful! I'm bold!
They are rulers of their roost, these beautiful Ravens, ready to take on the world, but hanging around the home castle, just in case Mom and Dad might come back and feed them some more.
Fat chance of that, with these brazen boisterous youths. Mom and Dad fled the coop to be rid of them!