Monday, May 24, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Oh, bloody murder

Our last post was dedicated to cuteness. This is not.

One post prior, we referred to our common ravens as apex-apex predators. Saturday night, one Alcatraz western gull learned this was true, then succumbed peacefully to its wounds. It was then returned to the bay.

The story began one day earlier. Our remaining young raven (picture included in the previous post) fell from one of Alcatraz's tallest cypress trees where our breeding ravens make their home.

The branchling hobbled around on injured legs seeking shelter, managing to reach a smaller nearby tree. Perhaps with human help, it was able to escape into the upper branches.

For reasons unknown to us at Maganrord, the raven pair perceived an unfortunate western gull as a threat to its reproductive prospects. The ravens attacked the gull, hurting it badly. The following morning, it was dead.

This morning, the violence wasn't over. We saw our two breeding ravens anxiously patrolling the area around their baby's new tree, aggressively engaging two gulls and making aerial contact with one.

I'm slapping myself for not snapping a better picture, but this was the best I could do:

Later, I observed the younger raven hopping around in its new branches, accompanied by one member of the adult pair.

Today, I found it in yet another new location, on a railing near a structure we call Building 64, a civil war era fortification that was later expanded and reconfigured for use as a warehouse and housing for prison personnel.

This afforded us our best opportunity yet to observe the guy. Media deluge on the source of the trouble:

She/he is already working on fierce raven poses:

(relatively) little guy preens a bit, has a look around

In the following video, you'll see an adult raven keeping tabs on his/her new progeny. Today, the parent birds took turns being vigilant:

And, for the sake of cuteness, our little branchling strikes an ornery pose:

We will absolutely keep you updated.

Odds, ends:

Oh, and for such a young raven, it also does a mean gargoyle:

We haven't seen the Alcatraz peregrine in more than a week. I'm getting a bad feeling about this.

Young snowy egret chicks are showing their legs and hopping around in their colonial thicket. Oh, growing up.

One island raven aficionado gave us a tip that this, the following picture that we took of a decapitated bird chick may actually feature the head of a newly hatched raven. What do you think?

And this guy:

This little survivor goes by many names including, 'The OMG Gosling', 'Ryan the Gosling', and 'Robinson Crusoe'. S/he'll fledge.


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