As I was tilling soil in the West Point Forty, I happened to spy a raven winging toward the chicken coop. Suspicious behaviour indeed–I’ve observed those thieving birds flying overhead with large brown eggs locked in their beaks. Who’d have thought they could do that? I prepared to jump off the tractor and go defend my girls’ hard-laid efforts.
Then I noticed that the raven was flying in and out of a fir near the chicken run. He never lighted on a branch, but just kept soaring in and out of the foliage, cawing the whole time. Odd behaviour! And then a bald eagle burst from inside the tree and flew off, harried for at least a kilometer by this intrepid raven.
My perspective on the ravens completely changed. Is this bird a local policeman? Is this why I’ve never seen an eagle strike on my chickens, even though I know they roost close by? Or perhaps it’s a protection racket, and the price is an egg each day….
The next day, through the closed bedroom window, I heard an unholy cacophony coming from the chicken run. When I appeared in the back doorway, a bald eagle flew out of the tree that is directly above the pen–no wonder the chickens were having a fit! 2/3s had retreated to the coop, while the others cowered along the fence, and the rooster was striding all around, looking imperious. The eagle retreated to the top of the neighbour’s tree, and I ran in for my camera.
And I have this kind of wildlife just in my backyard….