The Raven Has Returned!

I guess I have finally been forgiven. The huge raven who was bringing me presents each day until I stupidly turned over the front yard birdbath (see previous journal entries) has returned!

On the first day, he brought me bread crumbs. On the second day he left me a hamburger bun. The next day was tiny animal bones and flesh. After that was slightly bigger bones and meat. Today’s offering, even though it was raining, was baby bird parts, including a lower beak.

Other birding news:
In the last two weeks we have been regularly visited by rufous-sided towhees (also known as a spotted towhee), an incredibly gorgeous bird. It has a jet black head with bright white flecks on its back (like brilliant snowflakes) and bright brick red feathers on its sides (hence, its name).

I think they are building a nest either in our bougainvilla or our bird of paradise plant — lots of good hiding places in both.

I see a lot of California towhees (or brown towhees) on our property. I called them “rat birds” until I was able to properly identify them because they are a dirty grey-brown color and if you see them out of the corner of your eye they look like a rat scurrying across the ground. Unlike their colorful relative, brown towhees will let you approach them pretty closely.

A few days ago, I heard an unfamiliar bird call. I looked up and saw that way high up on top of our elm tree was a hooded oriole! This incredibly colored bird looks like it belongs in Costa Rica.

You can see them pretty regularly at the oasis in Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve only seen them once in the Pasadena area, at the Eaton Canyon Nature Park, many years ago. I was amazed to see one so far from the mountains…and on top of my own tree!

Last week I also saw a Cooper’s hawk attacking a big red-tailed hawk.

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Overall, it’s been a great two weeks for bird watching here in Pasadena!

4 Responses to “The Raven Has Returned!”

  1. Richard Tucker says:

    Bill,

    It’s so good to read that o your raven buddy has returned. Today the yellow crowned night heron returned to the routine of showing up during rain storms to get at the night crawlers trying not to drown. It’s been over a year since they have exhibited this behavior, lately even showing up on bright, hot, dry days.
    Anyway, I like reliable routines when it comes to our local birds. Birding is not so much addictive as it a natural reaction to our curiosity. To see, now, makes us want to identify.

    Rick Tucker

  2. James Grado says:

    Hi, Bill.

    Nice to hear the latest birding news! Those are some great sightings. We have a lot of different warblers migrating through Ohio right now. but I envy your contact with the raven. Sheila and I were followed around the Painted Desert in Arizona a few weeks ago by several ravens looking for handouts at each overlook. Beautiful birds. I can’t help but think we love watching them since they are our “dinosaurs.”

    See you at Wonderfest in Louisville. Looking to buy some of your items and I have a pile for you to sign (as usual)!

    James

  3. Jim Latimer says:

    Bill,
    Amazing creatures. Human intelligence in not the only type among living creatures. We have many visitors to the backyard feeder. Robins,Woodpeckers, Bluejays, Cardinals, Doves, Sparrows, and the, raptor like, neighbor chickens. We periodically see Red Tail Hawks also. Many times, we have groups of Turkeys wander across the yard. Always fascinating to watch each of these species. I hope you are able to relay many more Raven tales.

  4. Aaron says:

    Howdy Mr. Stout,
    Seems like it is a great spring for bird watching. We have five orioles flying around my feeders like a swarm of gypsy moths. Also the goldfinches are back and I looked out one day and saw a rose breasted grosbeak and an indigo bunting. The bunting was a real surprise. Nearby in a park the nesting bald eagles have two chicks. If I see humming birds this summer I will be very pleasantly surprised. I’m glad your raven is back and thanks for the photos. However I must say I prefer the rat birds in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. 😉

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