Evening Walk in Cave Creek

The blooms on the Saguaros have begun to open – a bit early it seems – which makes me wonder about global warming.

For the past week, I’ve been on the lookout for one that is positioned where the blooms would be at eye level so that I can take closeups.  This is easier said than done.

Tonight, I found this one that is on my neighbor’s property in the desert below his driveway.

Saguaro arm blooms not yet open

I had to stand on the wall at the edge of the driveway to manage this photo and still, I found that I was two feet too short.  I want to be able to look down into the center of the flowers when they open.

Oh well, at least the angle is such that the setting sun actually lights the blooms.

Continuing on the walk, we interrupted some coyotes that were out on an evening hunt.  Thankfully, the dog did not decide to chase them.

Cave Creek Coyotes
They continued left while we turned right.

Coyotes Hunting

 The dog was more interested in the raven that was flying above us making a raucous.

Raven

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5 Ravens

For a few weeks now, I’ve watched a family of ravens raising their young – teaching them how to fly, scavenge for food, and play.  They seem to have taken over our neighbour’s rooftop.  I suspect that they may have their nest there even though it is not visible from the street because of the high parapet walls.

They will not be here for much longer as the young are almost fully grown.

Very early on Sunday morning, they landed in our courtyard – all 5 of them.  What a raucous!  I watched them for a while and could not tell exactly what they were doing.  I knew that it was some sort of a lesson because the three youngsters took turns attempting whatever the two parents were trying to do around the corner where I could barely see.  They actually lined up and took turns.

Sunday morning lesson - there are 3 ravens in this photo

The lesson looked complex and I watched amazed by the intelligence and choreography of their interaction.  They definitely were talking to each other.

I managed to snap some photos from the dining room window before they rounded the corner and curiosity drove me outside to see if I can sneak a closer peek of their shenanigans.   But as I got close, they could sense my presence.  I caught one as it flew away.

I found on the ground a large quail’s egg with a small hole pecked at the side of it.  I have a sense that it was part of this morning’s lesson.  Ravens are omnivores, and considered good scavengers and thieves.  Last year, I spied one trying to steal quail eggs from the nest outside our bathroom window and I went outside to scare it away.

This year, I’ve enjoyed watching them and they have captured my attention as a totem specifically, “raven teaches how to take that which is unformed and give it the form you desire”.  If you are interested in the work of Ted Andrews (from his book – Animal Speak), I found a full copy of the text on Raven online.

They are beautiful and  I am grateful for the message they bring, but I miss the great horned owl that used to perch on the telephone pole at the top of the driveway and talk to me in the way early hours of the morning.  I have not seen or heard any owls since the ravens moved in.

In writing this blog, I tried to find what baby ravens are called, what the group is called and just to learn more about ravens in general… here are three sites with a good amount of information:
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdsleuth/modules/exploring-bird-behavior/bird-guide/common-raven
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/animals/Animalbabies.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Raven
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