Stranger In The Yard

IMG_2375Male Little Raven

Another adult male Little Raven begs Diddi for food by growling and flapping his wings but Diddi didn’t want anything to do with him and soon sorted him out by chasing him around the yard.

Once Diddi had left, the intruder snuck down to Diddi’s food bowl to take the little bit of food Diddi had left behind.

Blu has been coming for a visit every day since her eggs have hatched, she doesn’t stay long but it appears while Blu is here, Diddi is not. I presume they take it in turns guarding the nest.

Quick Visit

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Today was a beautiful day outside although still cold, the sun was shining. I spent time sitting outside watching the birds fluttering around in the sunshine. Diddi had been for breakfast and by lunchtime he had returned. While I was watching the birds, I thought to myself, wow Diddi has become so confident around me lately as he stuttered around on my back lawn. Suddenly the raven flew towards me landing on a rock, then took off again and landed on the chair arm I was sitting at. I looked and thought, no way, this is not Diddi, Diddi would never come this close.  I realised instantly it wasn’t Diddi at all but in fact it was Blu. I knew her eggs would have started hatching yesterday but to see her back so soon was unexpected. Blu stayed long enough for some mealworms and a big fat white lawn grub, then took off back to her nest. Later that afternoon, Blu returned for a quick hello, a feed and off she went. Blu has never left her nest this early in the past and I am kind of stumped why she had this time. Whatever her reasons may be, I was so happy to see her again.

 

Diddi

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Diddi

It seems like forever since I last saw Blu. Today will be the 12th day since she left. At first when Blu left, Diddi was a bit hesitant about coming for food but now we have a route worked out. Around 7:30am every morning, Diddi sits in my palm tree calling out, telling me he is here. The first lot of food I put out, Diddi will take to Blu, while the second lot of food he will eat himself. He appears to be coping very well despite the other ravens still in the area. Blu still has approximately another 11 days before her eggs start to hatch but I still won’t see her or the little ones for another 20 days after that.

I miss Blu terribly but I feel as long as Diddi comes every morning for breakfast, Blu will be fine.

Breakfast consists of Mealworms, White Lawn grubs, occasional crickets (if they sit still) and Mince mixed with Insectivore.

Where are they?

BluDiddi
Diddi & Blu

By now the last of juvenile ravens from the last breeding season should have moved on, but one still remains in the area. For the past 5 months, Blu and Diddi have desperately tried to move him out but he’s not taking the hint. Not only he is still in the area but he is with a large group (Flock. Murder) of other juvenile ravens, accompanied by a few adults.

Blu would usually be nesting by the 12th of July but this year, due to the other ravens in the area, she didn’t. Last week I saw Diddi tugging at my palm trees for nesting material and Blu arrived at my backdoor with feathers in her mouth. Blu and Diddi have also been taking a lot of food in the last two weeks, which is not uncommon before nesting, often hiding much of the food for later.

The 4th of August was last time I saw Blu, coming for several feeds a day with Diddi. I assume she may be sitting on a nest. With Blu not around I struggle to feed Diddi, due to the other ravens. I often see him chasing intruders away. So just like the Australian Magpie, ravens too can be territorial, especially during breeding season.

Usually when Blu is sitting on a nest, Diddi will sit on a television antenna not far away, letting me know he’s here. This year he isn’t. As far as I know, only the female incubates the eggs, while the male searches for food to feed his nesting partner.

While I am well aware, Diddi is quite capable of finding food for Blu, I can’t help feeling a little apprehensive. If Blu is on a nest, it will be approximately 45 days before I will see her again. In the meantime, I will go for a walk to see if I can locate the nest. I know which direction they are in, it’s just a matter of finding the right tree.

While this is only the 3rd day Blu has been gone, I already miss her terribly and hope she is okay.

Time To Go

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The last couple of days I have noticed the juvenile raven (Baby) has been hanging around my yard with approximately four other juveniles and one or two adults. It is causing distress to my two adult ravens, Blu and Diddi. The juvenile should have left three months ago but he is determined to stay, however I don’t think he will get his way. His father Diddi is constantly chasing him and the others away. While I adore the juvenile ravens I have decided not to interact with Baby any longer, it’s time for him to move on. It is heartbreaking to say the least watching the young one being chased away by his parents but if it is upsetting Blu and Diddi that much, then I will not interfere.

Out of all their offspring Blu and Diddi have had, this youngster has been the most fascinating and the most trusting. I have thoroughly enjoyed having him here and getting to know him.

I have said my goodbyes to him. I hope he lives a happy and healthy life.

Here To Stay

Baby-RA-2
© KM Photography 2015

It appears the juvenile Raven is here to stay. Yesterday both parents, Blu and Diddi, were here along with their youngster. While they appear to be getting along, I could see there is some tension between the youngster and his father, Diddi, with the young one keeping his distance. This is the first time in five to six years. the parents have allowed one of their offspring to stay in the area.

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Juvenile enjoying his favourite food, lawn grubs and mealworms.

Babyworms-RA© KM Photography 2015

One Of Those Days

BluTalk

© KM Photography 2015

Blu is having one of those days today. She doesn’t know what she wants.

My mornings usually start around 6:00am with calls from Blu at my bedroom window. The first few sounds are loud “ark ark” calls, which I’m sure she does to wake me. If I don’t respond straight away, the calls become louder with what I call an annoyed sound, “rrrrrrrrrr”. Blu repeats these sounds until I get out of bed and give them breakfast. For most of the day Blu and Diddi are not around. They’re busy flying around and doing what ravens do. However, there are days, like today, she has no idea what she wants, often spending the day here in my yard calling out to me at my bedroom window, while Diddi sits in the tree tops above. Once again, I go outside to provide her with food, but it’s not food she is interested in, she wants attention.

When Blu is in these moods, I usually sit at my garden setting in the shade and spend some time with her. Blu will peck at my shoes, sit on the back of my chair and tug at my hair or play with small objects she may find in my garden. When I speak to Blu I can tell she’s content, she will often make this gentle “hmm hmm” sound as if she is listening or agreeing with what I’m saying. I have never heard Diddi make this sound he has a unique sound of his own, almost like a tune. When Blu has had enough she will fly off with Diddi to a tree in the distance sometimes returning an hour later to do it all again.

Little Ravens make a variety of calls and sounds and this is how I interpret them. The Loud “ark ark” calls while flapping their wings I find usually means there is an intruder in the area, an uninvited raven, or distressed with something that may be going on in the area, such as workmen making a lot of noise. Other times they’ll make the same loud sound without flapping their wings but it is usually when there is some distance between the pair and they’re calling out to each other. Then there are calls which I often hear when they have young ones. It’s a very short, rapid “ark ark ark ark” which I find they use when they are calling the young ones to come to them or a call meaning, “where are you?” The couple will also utilize this sound with each other. The long drawn out “rrrrrrrr” sound they seem to use when they’re annoyed or can be interpreted as aggressive. The very brief “hmmm hmm” sound Blu will make, tilting her head to one side is usually when she is content. Another sound Blu will make is a very long drawn out “aaaaaaaaaah hmmmm” sound ending in a higher pitch which she will use if she feels she is not getting the attention she wants. The “What” sound I believe Blu does when she’s being cheeky. I will be inside and she will call and I will say “What?” with her replying with the same sound. However, they are not always vocal, there are times when they are happy and don’t make any sounds or calls at all.

This is just a few of the various sounds they make but even listening to the pair you can tell them apart. Just as we can recognise a voice of a particular person. It is difficult to describe the sounds they make in writing but I will attempt to make a sound file or video to post in the future.

Blu and Diddi are gone for the day doing their own thing, until they return once again just before sunset.

Call © KM Photography 2015

Still Here.

Juvenile
© KM Photography 2015

Three days had passed since I had last seen the juvenile raven. After seeing the parents, Blu and Diddi, both chasing him away yesterday as he was attempting to land in one of my trees, I honestly thought this was goodbye. This morning I wake to find him sitting quietly under the veranda, he had obviously outsmarted his parents. After a quick feed, a bath and a little affection, he was on his way once more. It seems it is getting harder for him to return but the day will come when he will leave here for the last time.

Many of Blu and Diddi’s offspring have tried to return in the past but never successfully. I am surprised this juvenile was still returning when he should have left over a month ago. I had seen Diddi get a little aggressive with him before when he attempts to join his parents for a feed. Although Diddi is quick to put him in his place, Blu on the other hand isn’t, often allowing him to feed with her.

This juvenile and Blu have had a strong bond right from the beginning, often following her around, feeding the other juveniles and flying with her, perhaps this is why he is still here.

To me, it is sad watching the juveniles being pushed out of their family unit but this is what ravens do. I keep reminding myself, if they didn’t do this, there would be too many ravens occupying one area which would probably have a huge impact on many other bird species who call this area home.

Bath
© KM Photography 2015

 

It’s All A Game

Interaction

© KM Photography 2015

During the five months the juveniles are here in my backyard, I will often give them enrichments. Instead of hand feeding them or placing food in a bowl, I give them a childs toy which is capable of holding treats. The idea is for the juveniles to figure out how to remove the treats from the toys. Not only do the juveniles enjoy the treats but they will play with the toys for hours. Even the adults will get involved although their attention span is considerably shorter than that of their offspring.

Other times I may place treats around the yard, such as peanuts in a shell. While the Ravens watch, sometimes I pretend to place the peanuts in one place but they’re actually in another. Sure enough they will be discovered. It takes some time for the juveniles to figure out where they are hidden but the adults find them instantly, they’ve played this game before.

Juvenile Ravens are easily amused playing with objects for hours in my backyard, while Blu and Diddi, fly off and do their own thing, leaving their young ones behind.

When there are two or more juveniles, they can often be seen sharing their treats with each other.

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© KM Photography 2015

 

Ravens & Magpies

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© KM Photography 2015

Spring brings new life to my backyard not only with immature Little Ravens but many other birds, as well as the Australian Magpie. Immature Little Ravens at first, spend most of their time in the tree tops, occasionally following their parents down to my back lawn, while the immature Magpies already spend much of their time on the ground.The immature Little Ravens are a slightly older than the immature Magpies, but they are around the same size.

In the beginning, the immature Magpies are chased away by Blu and Diddi, knowing the Magpies are accompanied by their parents. Like Magpies, adult Little Ravens are also highly protective of their young.

After about a month, immature Little Ravens are content with roaming around my backyard. They are extremely playful, picking at my plants, throwing objects around, playing in the water and chasing their siblings on my back lawn.

Juvenile Magpies are now at the age where they devote more time away from their parents as do the juvenile Little Ravens. The Little Ravens are growing fast and by this stage they’re slightly larger than the juvenile Magpies but still very clumsy on their feet. When a juvenile Magpie enters my yard, the Little Ravens think they have got a new playmate. As one of the young Ravens approaches the juvenile Magpie, he is very cautious but curious. The young Magpie is unsure and snaps at the Little Raven, warning him to keep away. The Raven feels intimated by the Magpie and goes running to his sibling for protection.

Another month passes by and now the juvenile Ravens are noticeably larger than the juvenile Magpie. The Ravens cease to be intimidated by the juvenile Magpie, often standing next to them, bumping the magpie with their wings, fluffing themselves up and raising their head feathers to appear larger than they already are. The juvenile Magpie feels threatened by the juvenile Ravens actions, often resulting in the Magpie flying away.

Blu and Diddi will sit and watch from the tree tops, as their offspring harass the juvenile Magpies but very rarely get involved. It’s all part of learning to live with Magpies.

Juvenile Ravens and Magpies can often be seen chasing each other in flight. Occasionally, it gets too much for the Ravens with the Magpies calling for backup from their family members.