Mysteries and Sacraments of Life

Not 15 minutes after our arriving at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, Mom and Pop raven also turned up. They lighted on the steeple and had a quick look at the nest there – too exposed, apparently, to rain and owls – and then they flew around to the real nest, the messy looking pile of sticks and twigs atop the head of St Brendan in his niche on the church’s facade. Here they coo’d and made romance and began to tidy their last year’s work, very much “in the mood for love.” All the while, parishioners had gathered in the church below for a funeral, sleek wealthy Hancockers in sombre threads. Rituals of life and death for the avian and primate inhabitants of Los Angeles. Anthropology or ornithology or both? Corvus corax and Homo sapiens have lived these intertwined destinies for millennia now, so much alike, but physically so far apart.

Ravens of Hancock Park

RinH is looking forward to the imminent nesting season. This year we’ve decided to focus on specific nesting sites, hoping to observe them through the whole season. The nest at Apple and Fairfax is the most convenient, so that will be our primary site. However, the nest at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church was so successful last year, we can’t help but visit to see if it works again this year. One question, for instance, is why is there an unused nest on the northeast side of the steeple? Was it constructed, and then rejected? If the birds are going to re-use a nest, how to they go about it? And how on earth does do the parishioners survive a nestful of raven chicks raining down poop on the church porch.

Since ravens in Hollywood and the adjacent community of Hancock Park must be very familiar with local structures, we have to tip our hat to the very entertaining Houses of Hancock Park.