Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The continuing saga of The Birds...

The ravens that fought on my rooftop last month are still around. They seem to have settled their dispute: one pair spends a lot of time in my trees and the giant cottonwoods across the street, and the other is down at the end of the next block, in the trees that surround the middle school.

Yesterday Booker and I went for a walk. As we passed the middle school, we were met by students who were 'running the mile' around and around the two blocks that the school sits on. Booker did very well, stepping off the sidewalk as we met each group or lone running student to let them pass, like the gentleman we hope he is becoming. As we reached a tall tree at the corner, though, I noticed a strange phenomenon; each running child looked up into the tree as they passed under it, then they generally sped up a bit as they continued. As Booker and I passed under the tree, there was this sound which I can only describe as an 'electronic blip-blip' sound. I thought, "there must be some kind of security devise in the tree to keep an eye on the school!" I bet that's what the students thought, as well, so they sped up as they passed, to look good 'on camera.' But as I looked closer into the tree, I did not spy an electronic devise. I spied one of the ravens, in the crotch of several limbs, blip-blipping as each student ran underneath him! It cracked me up! I stood and watched him long enough that Booker had to remind me that we were on a walk! I only had my iPhone with me, so took this shot, then played a bit with it (sorry - I just can't resist all these bells and whistles!)

Several things I just keep pondering about this: first, I really don't think the kids saw the bird or, if they did, didn't associate it with the sound. I think we're all more used to 'being watched' electronically these days than we are of thinking of Nature. That was the conclusion I first had jumped to, too. And second, where did the raven learn that sound? I suppose it hears lots of phone ringtones and car alarms and who knows what, right there at the school, and it just chose one to learn. And finally, why was it making the sound as each student or group ran beneath it? It blipped at Booker and me, too, so maybe it does that whenever anyone passes. The tree it was in has a lot of people passing under it; students in the day and walkers and dog-walkers all the time. Maybe it is a warning sound to it's mate? Or maybe it just likes to keep track of us all.

I am greatly amused by my new neighbors!


J. Austin - said...

Ahh, yes, we have crows here at Cape Cod. They are fascinating, but their 4-5 AM domestic disputes take a bit of getting used to.

K Spoering said...

These are not crows, Jan, though we have a few of those, too. These are the knee-high to me sized ravens of the southwest legends. Very smart. Very big. Also very loud.