604-197Raven pair get acquainted during a snowstorm.

Ravens have been lurking around mankind ever since humans began making footprints.  They are quick to learn and take advantage of any  food sources we provide.  And, ravens are smart, perhaps the smartest bird on the planet. They have the largest range of vocalizations of any living creature except of course, for us humans.

604-126-1And their behavior seems to have no limits. In Wyoming, Idaho and Montana where I used to live, ravens just love to hang around snowmobiles.  To a raven, a parking lot full of snowmobiles near a scenic overlook must seem like natural habitat.

Common Raven (Corvus corax) group climbing on unattended snowmobiles, Yellowstone National Park, WyomingRavens have learned that snowmobiles are nothing short of dumpsters on skis.  1158875They pull up the Velcro flap that covers a snowmobiles jockey box and then proceed to unload the contents looking for food and other objects of interest.  Things they find besides food are gloves, spark plugs, and packs of cigarettes. raven-6Raven pulls a map from the jockey box.

Several times I have been framed for their crimes.  As I photographed the ravens unloading a jockey box they suddenly found something they simply had to have and flew off with it. With the contents of their jockey boxes now scattered on the ground, the owners would suddenly arrived and there I was probably looking quite guilty.  I received stares of disgust from snowsheeners who quickly jumped onto their sleds and took off for safer scenery.

604-259-14And if there is nothing  in the jockey box to satisfy the raven who has everything, they might then amuse themselves by poking their sharp bill into the soft vinyl seats and begin pulling out foam rubber.  I know it must feel heavenly to a raven but once again I was the one blamed, this time for not putting a stop to the ravens destructive fun.


One thought on “FRAMED BY A RAVEN

  1. Chuck Trost

    Hi Michael,
    Loved your flicker article and pictures in the latest Natural History! I also enjoyed your raven series in Yellowstone. Keep up the great work,


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