Arrived at work to find 11-12 ravens flying in a cloud at 80m or so above campus (roughly one mile north of LAX) in clear skies with a cool wind off the ocean. Shortly thereafter, a decision got made, and the flock of them sped off towards downtown LA. I couldn’t help but remember seeing the same thing, but in Hollywood, a couple months ago. That time, the crowd evidently chose the beach as its destination.
I have watched pairs and singles soar even higher before heading off in a fixed direction. But clouds are less frequent events, so it is hard to say that they don’t also gain greater altitude.
I went back to Iron Mountain’s Film and Sound Archive Services this morning *with* the camera, and was amply rewarded. Ravens in Hollywood live in a rooftop world that is difficult to access without trespass or a cherry picker, but the nest keeps them close to home and pretty visible. Daddy raven likes the telephone poles that are all over his domain. It remains a bit of a mystery what these birds live on, but I have begun to suspect that one of their techniques is stealing from other birds (Hollywood has been thick with seagulls all winter). I’ve only seen a raven on the ground once in the urban zone, and that was a pretty quiet subdivision in Burbank. I’ll have to do the Cheetos test, as well as make more observations of the far less shy birds in the desert towns.
Ravens like to nest on cliff faces, but in L.A., the next best thing is a cliff-like building. I have been keeping an eye on the massive Iron Mountain building on Highland (a.k.a. LA’s largest billboard, but home as well to Jim Henson and Dodgers archives), for some time, but had been disappointed. Until today. It was a beatiful sunny day, cool and crisp after a night of rain showers, and the resident ravens (or at least one of them) was flying around Iron Mountain with the easy familiarity of ownership. It didn’t take long to spot the nest. This site can’t be more than three miles from the nest in Runyon, and so maybe it’s possible to begin to get an idea of breeding territory density.
Finally I confirmed that Runyon Canyon is occupied by a breeding pair, after watching them collect twigs to build or refurbish the very hard to see nest in the Jeffries (?) pine at the Lloyd Wright house. While by no means the only pair of ravens with a street address, I suspect these two may be the only ones with an address this spiffy, or one that comes with such a spectacular view of movieland.
Suddenly I am observing pairs of ravens near or in the Baldwin Hills on my morning commute, southbound on La Cienega. There is a county park that preserves part of the hills in the state preferred by ravens, tall trees included. Given the number of ravens running around LA this winter, it would be silly to say that these pairs are the same two birds, but some pair is likely to be based there.