Little Visits: Little Ravens

Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh: Ker-Lunk.
A Little Raven flew past my ear, and landed directly on the picnic table in front of me.
Grab camera. Now the bird is so close I can’t get focus.  Move back on table, eventually get a great head shot.
With a boldness that had to be experienced to be understood, it walked over the table checking out anything that would be usable food.

Long time readers may recall that I used to do quite a few “Little Visits” when I was having my Nikon 1 Series excursus. But when it became clear Nikon had abandoned the system, well so did I. And with it of course my Little Visits.  (Little being a reference to the N 1 system- hope that wasn’t too subtle)

But this visit has made me want to revive the series. Sort of suits a lot of what I’m currently doing in the field. Rather than chasing lots of birds, I’m back to working with just a few.

So, after checking the table, and the surrounds and yes, I know, I don’t feed birds, but I  ‘accidentally’ dropped a bit of my muesli bar and my visitor was very quick to retrieve, fly to the river, soften it off in the water and then fly to a branch just over my head and deposit it into the waiting beak of its recently fledged young one.  Ahh!


It was a family outing, both adults were in the tree with the young one, and I concluded that the larger bird was with the young one while the smaller was doing all the food gathering.  I don’t know if there is a male/female size distinction, and can’t find any reference either way.  More research needed.

So while the young one moved about from tree to tree and adults kept it topped up.


Little Raven
So close I had to sit back to get a focus.


That brilliant eye had taken in the location of all the tiny scraps on, under and around the table.
The boldness of the bird was so evident as it fed around the table supports and my legs.
The gullet is quite full here. It has been collecting lots of little snacks.
The gullet is quite full here. It has been collecting lots of little snacks.


Time for a preen while sitting with the young one


A wing stretch and then away to the next spot
A wing stretch and then away to the next spot
Keeping an eye on junior and the hunting bird
Keeping an eye on junior and the hunting bird
Not only need a wing relief stretch but one for the muscles in those powerful claws.


After a preen a little scratch always makes things feel better
After a preen a little scratch always makes things feel better


Not always easy to pick a suitable landing spot when you are not all that experienced. And you really don’t have much of a tail to help control flight.

9 thoughts on “Little Visits: Little Ravens

    1. Thanks Derek,
      It was a pleasing way to spend an hour or so in the sun.
      They are such amazing birds. I know we have given them a bad rap, the western culture holds them in a very low esteem, boarding on evil, while other cultures, North American Indians, Australian First Nation and others have traditions that give them either hero or wisdom status.
      Its easy I think to look at them as a whole, and then miss the intrigue and inherent cleverness in each individual


    1. G,day David, When it comes to feeding their young they are relentless I think. This one was able to ‘map’ the table area, and it was obvious watching it, that it just wasn’t a random search, but rather it had studied the table from the tree above and had a planned approach to picking up all the best bits first and then moving to the smaller or less accessible pieces. Too Clever


  1. Lovely shots David and the blue eye of the juvenile is well captured. I have been reading about bird intelligence at present and the ravens are clever to know how to soften their food. They are not such ‘bird brains’ after all as people once thought due to one man’s philosophy. Now they know it is all about neurons and not brain size, but how many and where they are positioned in the brain. An amazing photo study of this bird David, love the last juvenile shot. Have a wonderful long weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi AB, they are really such great problem solvers. If you can google Ravens and Japan and Traffic Lights. You should find a few vids of Ravens taking hard nuts down on to the roadway when the lights are red, and then watching the cars run over the nuts to break them open, and then returning on the next light change to pick up the goodies.
      I bet that is not in the gene pool.
      Too clever they are

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting David I have just read about this in a book I am reading called The Genius of Birds which similar to Where Song. Began showing birds are far more intelligent than we first thought. Have a great weekend 😊


    1. Thanks Eleanor,
      This pair are at Werribee Mansion, they see tens of thousands of us each year and know with a certainty, that 9,999 will leave scraps behind without cleaning up after them. It might be worth considering its a learned activity, but I think that the humans are the real problem. 🙂
      On a slightly different, I saw a magpie in a nest today at a major suburban carpark, in a tree right alongside the footpath. Reckon she’s not going to have trouble finding food for her young, but, at what quality.


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