An Eerie St. Andrew Day

Clear and very cool, warming during the day. The winds have died down. The birds have vanished. Very strange to walk a good stretch of Sunset Blvd. and see no birds at all, unless it’s usually the afternoon when they show up there. But I’ve been hearing far less in the way of visits around the Manor these past couple weeks as well.

Pick up a raven at Sunset and Vine

Late afternoon, partly cloudy and cool. Five ravens playing in the air above the shrink-wrapped high rise on one of the city’s most famous intersections. Shortly after that I caught up with two birds stopping perch for a bit on top of a pair of floodlights that overlook the arclight cinemas courtyard. They were making oo! and cluck calls. They¬† left via cineramadome overflight. It was pretty late and surprising to see them on city rooftops so close to roosting time. Stupidly I didn’t have my camera with me.

The BIrds

The BIrds

Originally uploaded by AlasdairFitheach.

Seagull, two ravens and a crow. Top dogs in the urban avian food chain sharing a rare moment together. One of the ravens had a chunk of food by the time it got to the next telephone pole over, making me wonder if it had plundered it from the gull, but I never saw it make a move. Maybe it was a recovered cache.

Territory defense heating up?

I was almost at work, waiting for the light to change outside the gate to my university, when a crow chased a raven across the intersection at 8-10m above ground. Chased it right up Lincoln Blvd, but the last glimpse I got, the raven had got the upper hand of the dogfight.

Yesterday I watched one raven chase another over Sunset and LaBrea at about 45m altitude. Another raven was soarcling nearby. I’ve not seen any aggressive behaviors since last fall, so I don’t wonder if there is something about the run-up to breeding season that is bringing about more competition and aggressiveness.

New call

Sunday on returning to the Beaudry trailhead on Verdugo’s southern flank, two ravens were hanging out on trees overlooking the catch basin, one on each side. One was making a call I hadn’t heard before – rrak rrak (not unusual) but the slowness of the call was what made it different. Then we saw a coyote emerge from the dry streambed and climb back up into the brush-covered mountainside. The ravens had just arrived there, having sclided past us while we were higher up the fire road. Maybe they’d seen the coyote down there and wanted to see if there were any chance of a snack.