Monday, September 14, 2009

Transpecies Avian Alliances?

Yesterday, I was hiking through the tundra back of the airport with my dog, Blue, pictured below. Actually, he has 52 other names, most of them hyphenated and ending with "-head", but I digress.

We were witness to unusual behaviour from a raven, actions so strange as to make me feel like ascribing noble sentiments to the bird, including being a "good Samaritan".

Ravens make excellent sentinels. During winter, when driving up the road leading to their local wintering grounds, a.k.a. the Salluit Municipal dump, you can notice that raven "guards" are posted here and there presumably to alert the rest of the colony that a potentially dangerous intruder is on his way.

But yesterday, this raven didn't alert any of its black-feathered brethren of our presence. Instead, it started dive-bombing my dog as he ran through the tundra, and making an uncharacteristic chirping sound rather than its usual throaty croak.

After it had finished harassing Blue, it flew 100 metres distant and circled a bit. Suddenly, a flock of Canada geese which presumably had been resting on the ground sprang upwards amid a clamour of honks, and started flying with the raven in the opposite direction. The raven then broke off from the geese, and came back to resume his Stuka-like swoops down at my dog.

Could it be the raven, perceiving danger, took it upon itself to rouse the geese to flight? Had the geese hired the raven as local muscle while sojourning in Salluit? Could I just be a sentimental fool and viewed the raven in athropomorphic terms? Or could the raven have difficulty in making up its mind which species of animal to harass next?

Well, I guess you had to be there, but I swear the bird attentionally alerted the geese no matter what you guys might think.

Above, Blue actually looking like a good dog. Right, yes, that small speck in the top right is a raven. I tried to get dog and bird to pose for a reenactment, but this is as good as she gets.

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Blogger Jenn said...

This amused me. Excellent photographic skill as well! Too bad though that the bird wouldn't cooperate for a live-action re-enactment pose!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Nice to see you remembered your blog too, Nanuk!

8:07 PM  
Blogger WrathofDawn said...

Huh! You're posting again. Who'da thunk!

9:53 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Hello all - thanks for yer comments.

4:43 AM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Maybe the Raven has been adopted by a goose... Maybe he THINK he is a goose..... Those things happen, ya know.... :)

9:46 AM  

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