Australian Ravens

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Australian Ravens
From: "Reg Clark" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 19:43:14 +1100
Hello All,
Ravens are very interesting birds, a pair has nested for many years in tall
eucalypts in the small reserve behind my house, sometimes with success and
sometimes not. This year (drought and all ) they have raised two offspring
when few of our local birds have even nested. I can claim some part of this
success story as they have made frequent use of the birdbath which I
provide. This is a common cement basin on a pedestal about a metre high.
When the two chicks had fledged the parents adopted the practice of each
afternoon about four oclock bringing the pair down to the bath where they
would drink and bathe. Following this the parents would fly off leaving the
pair sitting in a small Golden Ash tree which overhung the bath. The
attentive parents would return from time to time bringing what were scraps
of  miscellaneous food . Now there are several houses being erected in the
vicinity and these cluey birds had noticed two pertinent points , the first
was that building workers are very careless with their food scraps , the
second was that they all knocked-off work about four oclock. My observations
revealed that the two adults were flying into the rooms of these partly
erected homes and returning with a variety of scraps of junk food, sandwich
crusts, pie crusts, pieces of gnawed chicken bone and other lunchtime
discards. These items were placed in the bath and surveyed for a short time,
presumably until suitably modified for tender palates and were then fed to
the impatient offspring.
What happened one afternoon I can only  put down to parental concern at the
dietary imbalances being created by this high carbohydrate food. Whilst
watching his crusts soaking ,the raven saw a Spotted Turtle Dove idly
pecking at invisible items as it progressed along the path below---- he
obviously saw the answer to his problem, hopped down from the bath, landed
on the unfortunate dove's back and delivered three or four powerful pecks to
the back of its head. It was subdued but not dead and the raven commenced to
pluck it strewing feathers profusely, it then dismembered the bird feeding
the pieces to the two youngsters and to the other adult.This incident took
place about two months ago. The family is still remaining together and the
parents have even educated them in the benefits of this afterhours bonanza
and they all search the vacant buildings together. I am not certain as to
whether the news of this discovery has reached the wider raven community
yet, but checking on the source of all the noise in a nearby tree two days
ago, I counted eleven Australian Ravens.


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