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June 2005


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"Slayton, Tom" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Jun 2005 15:55:34 -0400
text/plain (83 lines)
Steve's gull encounter reminded me of the story a friend told me of an
unusual encounter she had with an immature raven earlier this month.
        This happened just off Route 10 near the Connecticut River in
Orford, N.H. My friend, a retired woman of known probity and sober habits,
heard a young raven squawking mightily outside her small farmhouse. She went
out and saw it perched atop a shed. It was being harassed by a crow. Said
friend yelled at the crow, which backed off a bit. The young raven then
glided down and landed right in front of her feet! She could see its
feathers were mussed up, but didn't want to touch the bird. She thought it
might be hungry, so went into her house and got a small piece of meat which
she cut up and put in a bowl. This she brought back out, but the bird had
flown away -- to a house next door. She called to it "You're missing your
dinner!" And the raven came back and landed at her feet once again! It
fussed with the chopped up meat but didn't eat it. Then it rolled over on
its back and lay on the ground with its feet up in the air. Eventually it
left and visited awhile at the next house over.
        My friend swears the story is true and that she had nothing to drink
that day.
        Ravens are smart, but comical?

                Tom Slayton
> ----------
> From:         Steve Antell
> Reply To:     Vermont Birds
> Sent:         Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:35 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      [VTBIRD] Standoff in Battery Park
> I have been an avid reader of VTBIRD messages and appreciate everyone's
> fascination and joy in all things avian.  Indeed, I have had many
> memorable experiences myself over the years and especially enjoy this time
> of year.  There is, however, a darker, mostly unspoken side to the world
> of birds, and I think it only prudent and fair to warn others of the
> dangers lurking out there.
> Actually, thoughts of atlassing and bird song were not even on my mind
> last Friday as I ordered fries and a hamburger from the bus at Battery
> Park.  I was hungry and looking forward to a quiet break from my all day
> conference.  I sat on a picnic table and contentedly began eating my
> admittedly less than gourmet lunch.  Just as I was ready to take yet
> another bite out of my hamburger, I was rudely thwacked on the back of my
> head.  In the split second that it took to begin processing the assault,
> the burger was knocked from my hand, landing on the ground several feet
> away.  A ring-billed gull landed nearby, squawking loudly in an attempt to
> intimidate me further and was quickly joined by several co-conspirators,
> all carrying on loudly.  In the excitement of the moment, I managed to
> spill my fries all over the picnic table.  I instantly decided that there
> was no way I was going to allow such churlish behavior to pay off.  But it
> also occurred to me that the hamburger might have only been a diversion
> and that if I went after it, the fries would quickly become history.  I
> resorted to several feinting moves toward the burger while quickly
> scooping the fries back into the container.  Fries safely back in the box,
> I then gathered up the no longer particularly appetizing hamburger (to me,
> at least) and buried it in a nearby trash container, taking perverse
> pleasure in knowing the gulls would realize it was there but that they
> were not going to be able to get to it.  I scurried out of the park,
> nervously eating the rest of my fries while frequently looking over my
> shoulder, lamenting that I really had not had enough lunch to hold me.
> Could a similar traumatic event have been Hitchcock's inspiration?
> Steve Antell
> Shelburne