Ravens in Redway Disappearing?

black in blue

unbruised

Raven soars above/below

a foamy sea

below/above

golden grass and me

_________

In a quintessentially SoHum tilt at windmills by attacking the farmer planting nearby (sometimes, we take Don Quixote’s methods of changing the world to a whole new level here,) a local woman is convinced the raven population is disappearing–being poisoned she claims by a local Redway merchant.  “Boycott SoHum Weed,” she demands, “until the raven killers are in jail.” No one I’ve talked to has seen evidence of any harm to the birds though some claim to be seeing less of them in Redway.  Here in the hills, they flourish. And a what a beautiful blessing they are.

  • Laytonville Rock
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84 comments

  • Nice post … I love the poem!

  • Nice post … I love the poem!

  • In truth, I think there’s pretty strong evidence that the population of ravens in Humboldt and the north coast generally has risen pretty dramatically over the last few human generations. Along with their corvid cousins, the crows and jays, ravens have become a substantial threat to species that used to be much more numerous – marbled murrelets being the best-documented and discussed example.

  • In truth, I think there’s pretty strong evidence that the population of ravens in Humboldt and the north coast generally has risen pretty dramatically over the last few human generations. Along with their corvid cousins, the crows and jays, ravens have become a substantial threat to species that used to be much more numerous – marbled murrelets being the best-documented and discussed example.

  • Is that a Turkey Vulture soaring in the blue sky pictured above? That’s the species, Turkey Vulture, being studied for the reintroduction of the Condor to Bald Hills to the North. Ravens still seem to be doing fine in our neck of the woods though.

  • I love that poem! Did you write it?

    • Thank you. Yes, I did. I was so struck by how the sky above the raven was like a sea that it was swimming in. And in my mind, ended upside down–like I was above the Raven, viewing it below me.

  • I love that poem! Did you write it?

    • Thank you. Yes, I did. I was so struck by how the sky above the raven was like a sea that it was swimming in. And in my mind, ended upside down–like I was above the Raven, viewing it below me.

  • If there is any species that there are far, far too many of it is human, not raven. My favorite tree is the redwood, my favorite animal is the black-tailed deer, my favorite fish is the steelhead, and of course, my favorite bird is the raven, all species of the South Fork of the Eel River. This canyon is in my blood for many generations.

    Like Kym, my family goes back generations in this canyon. Being raised with the stories from my ancestors, who lived entirely off the land, it’s hard not to gain a love and respect for the raven. It was widely revered as the smartest bird.

    As I grew up, I was honored to find that my family name came from the raven. Branscomb comes from the words “Bran” and “Coomb” in Wales a raven is a “bran“, and a “coomb” is a valley. Branscomb literally means Raven Valley. I have been to the valley in England. It is a most beautiful place and it still has a population of ravens that soar above the limestone bluffs and into the beautiful ocean valley filled with wondrous green meadows and hedgerow fences.

    All I ask, is that people respect the raven, and not try to control it. If you want to make an effort to control anything, it should be human population.

    Kym, you should sign all of your poems, you are connected to nature, you should be proud. Please, from now, on sign them.

    • I guess, like my photos, I assume that folk will think they are mine because I always point out when I quote somebody else. It feels pretentious to stamp “by Kym Kemp” on them–as though they were bigger than thoughts that come tumbling out accidentally.

  • If there is any species that there are far, far too many of it is human, not raven. My favorite tree is the redwood, my favorite animal is the black-tailed deer, my favorite fish is the steelhead, and of course, my favorite bird is the raven, all species of the South Fork of the Eel River. This canyon is in my blood for many generations.

    Like Kym, my family goes back generations in this canyon. Being raised with the stories from my ancestors, who lived entirely off the land, it’s hard not to gain a love and respect for the raven. It was widely revered as the smartest bird.

    As I grew up, I was honored to find that my family name came from the raven. Branscomb comes from the words “Bran” and “Coomb” in Wales a raven is a “bran“, and a “coomb” is a valley. Branscomb literally means Raven Valley. I have been to the valley in England. It is a most beautiful place and it still has a population of ravens that soar above the limestone bluffs and into the beautiful ocean valley filled with wondrous green meadows and hedgerow fences.

    All I ask, is that people respect the raven, and not try to control it. If you want to make an effort to control anything, it should be human population.

    Kym, you should sign all of your poems, you are connected to nature, you should be proud. Please, from now, on sign them.

    • I guess, like my photos, I assume that folk will think they are mine because I always point out when I quote somebody else. It feels pretentious to stamp “by Kym Kemp” on them–as though they were bigger than thoughts that come tumbling out accidentally.

  • Yes, the call to boycott SoHum weed in connection to an individual allegedly poisoning the birds is laughable, but you gotta love the self-flagellation wingnuttiness of it. Redway ravens depend on food carelessly left out by humans which supports an unnatural population density. When I had my work shop on Empire Ave. they would be up at dawn raiding the open dumpsters and trash bags left out, which is pretty annoying, but not the bird’s fault that someone is too lazy or cheap to get a properly sized dumpster or lock the lid on it to keep the human scavengers from leaving it open. Most likely seeing fewer of the beautifully opportunistic scavengers in town means people are getting better about securing their garbage. Just like in the 70’s when they finally put bear resistant lids on the garbage cans in Yosemite Valley and, presto, the bears virtually disappeared.

  • Yes, the call to boycott SoHum weed in connection to an individual allegedly poisoning the birds is laughable, but you gotta love the self-flagellation wingnuttiness of it. Redway ravens depend on food carelessly left out by humans which supports an unnatural population density. When I had my work shop on Empire Ave. they would be up at dawn raiding the open dumpsters and trash bags left out, which is pretty annoying, but not the bird’s fault that someone is too lazy or cheap to get a properly sized dumpster or lock the lid on it to keep the human scavengers from leaving it open. Most likely seeing fewer of the beautifully opportunistic scavengers in town means people are getting better about securing their garbage. Just like in the 70’s when they finally put bear resistant lids on the garbage cans in Yosemite Valley and, presto, the bears virtually disappeared.

  • Most likely seeing fewer of the beautifully opportunistic scavengers in town means people are getting better about securing their garbage.

    Yeah right, that explains why there are, “several dead ones being found around town with blood coming from their beaks”.

    • I’ve asked around to see if anyone knows of a current disease affecting Ravens, but I haven’t gotten a call back yet. If you believe poisoning is the cause Anne and you are witness to it then by all means collect the bird and contact DFG or the Sheriff’s office. Use disposable gloves and a sealed bag in the event this is a case of infectious disease, or just cover the bird with something and let the authorities decided how to handle it . If this is a case of intentional poisoning and the individual who is suspected of doing this gets arrested and is found guilty it’s a pretty serious offense with fines and jail time.

      • Uti says: … let the authorities decide how to handle it

        Protester says: local Fish And Game officials don’t care, but the local Native American tribes, for whom the raven is sacred, do care and so does the U.S. Dept. Of Interior. She said people can call KMUD radio if they find a dead bird.

        Olmanriver says: sheriff pesters messenger announcing the deaths.

  • Most likely seeing fewer of the beautifully opportunistic scavengers in town means people are getting better about securing their garbage.

    Yeah right, that explains why there are, “several dead ones being found around town with blood coming from their beaks”.

    • I’ve asked around to see if anyone knows of a current disease affecting Ravens, but I haven’t gotten a call back yet. If you believe poisoning is the cause Anne and you are witness to it then by all means collect the bird and contact DFG or the Sheriff’s office. Use disposable gloves and a sealed bag in the event this is a case of infectious disease, or just cover the bird with something and let the authorities decided how to handle it . If this is a case of intentional poisoning and the individual who is suspected of doing this gets arrested and is found guilty it’s a pretty serious offense with fines and jail time.

      • Uti says: … let the authorities decide how to handle it

        Protester says: local Fish And Game officials don’t care, but the local Native American tribes, for whom the raven is sacred, do care and so does the U.S. Dept. Of Interior. She said people can call KMUD radio if they find a dead bird.

        Olmanriver says: sheriff pesters messenger announcing the deaths.

  • Other than the one woman, no one I talked to had seen any bodies of ravens. Poison would seem to kill more than one species of bird, too, and there haven’t been any sitings of any quantities of dead birds that I know of.

    • I can’t verify the veracity of all aspects of her account, but I tend to believe her version of her interactions with the unnamed family members. Those are the ones to talk to.
      I hesitate to contribute to rumors, but I think this one requires some investigating.

  • Other than the one woman, no one I talked to had seen any bodies of ravens. Poison would seem to kill more than one species of bird, too, and there haven’t been any sitings of any quantities of dead birds that I know of.

    • I can’t verify the veracity of all aspects of her account, but I tend to believe her version of her interactions with the unnamed family members. Those are the ones to talk to.
      I hesitate to contribute to rumors, but I think this one requires some investigating.

  • Haven’t seen a raven on the usual main streets of Redway. Strangely quiet.
    BIA has been pestering the Sheriff’s substation, sheriff pesters messenger announcing the deaths.
    An interview with someone with well known local name not being revealed here would substantiate/confirm/or deny what appears to be a well-founded ugly rumor.

    • Now that was unnecessarily cryptic, OMR. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been pestering the sheriff. Gotcha, But who is that well known local who could confirm or deny? Has anyone seen any bodies?

      • Interviewing the locals who she accuses of the deed is what I should have said. I do not care to use the name online. Just being careful, not cryptic.

        • That’s why Olmanriver knows so much about all of us, he knows how to keep a secret. But, I trust that he will he it through, that the raven killing is stopped.

          In the British Isles there is a curse attached to killing a Raven. It is believed that the Raven is the only thing protecting them from the French invading them. Maybe we should start a rumor the ravens keep CAMP away.

  • Haven’t seen a raven on the usual main streets of Redway. Strangely quiet.
    BIA has been pestering the Sheriff’s substation, sheriff pesters messenger announcing the deaths.
    An interview with someone with well known local name not being revealed here would substantiate/confirm/or deny what appears to be a well-founded ugly rumor.

    • Now that was unnecessarily cryptic, OMR. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been pestering the sheriff. Gotcha, But who is that well known local who could confirm or deny? Has anyone seen any bodies?

      • Interviewing the locals who she accuses of the deed is what I should have said. I do not care to use the name online. Just being careful, not cryptic.

        • That’s why Olmanriver knows so much about all of us, he knows how to keep a secret. But, I trust that he will he it through, that the raven killing is stopped.

          In the British Isles there is a curse attached to killing a Raven. It is believed that the Raven is the only thing protecting them from the French invading them. Maybe we should start a rumor the ravens keep CAMP away.

  • A quick conversation with the local sheriff substations desubtanstiated the BIA part of the rumor. Fish and Game may look into it.
    Tempest in a teacup , or serious misdeed?

    Someone needs to conduct a test and leave a black plastic bag out where it can be observed. And OMR, sometimes the heat of the day is not the best time to make observations about bird counts.

    • “OMR, sometimes the heat of the day is not the best time to make observations about bird counts.” In the wild Ravens are very early risers and try to beat the Turkey Vultures to fresh carrion. TV’s need to warm up their wings a bit before flying, that’s why you often see them roosted holding them outstretched facing the sun. The best time to see Ravens in Redway is early in the morning during the summer.

  • A quick conversation with the local sheriff substations desubtanstiated the BIA part of the rumor. Fish and Game may look into it.
    Tempest in a teacup , or serious misdeed?

    Someone needs to conduct a test and leave a black plastic bag out where it can be observed. And OMR, sometimes the heat of the day is not the best time to make observations about bird counts.

    • “OMR, sometimes the heat of the day is not the best time to make observations about bird counts.” In the wild Ravens are very early risers and try to beat the Turkey Vultures to fresh carrion. TV’s need to warm up their wings a bit before flying, that’s why you often see them roosted holding them outstretched facing the sun. The best time to see Ravens in Redway is early in the morning during the summer.

  • I know where a lot of the Ravens are…in Arcata eating my sons corn crops! He’s had to replant them three times thus far this season due to ravenous ravens. It’s his annual corn maze and a big attraction every year with children and HSU students. People from all over also come to his pumpkin patch (Arcata Bottoms).

    Ravens. Not crows. Other local farmers in this area have been complaining about the unusual amount of Ravens eating their corn crops too this year. Some old timers are saying they haven’t seen anything like it in decades.

    Strange times I guess.

    • When the Ravens were ravaging our crops last year we put up ScareRavens (like ScareCrows) cloths filled with straw and it worked at keeping our crops from being impacted. The Ravens flew around squawking at the straw people in the field. They are still flying around squawking at our ScareRavens in the garden this year too. Smart birds learn though, how long this charade will fool these smart birds is yet to be determined. But at least they are not bothering our crops this year….

  • I know where a lot of the Ravens are…in Arcata eating my sons corn crops! He’s had to replant them three times thus far this season due to ravenous ravens. It’s his annual corn maze and a big attraction every year with children and HSU students. People from all over also come to his pumpkin patch (Arcata Bottoms).

    Ravens. Not crows. Other local farmers in this area have been complaining about the unusual amount of Ravens eating their corn crops too this year. Some old timers are saying they haven’t seen anything like it in decades.

    Strange times I guess.

    • When the Ravens were ravaging our crops last year we put up ScareRavens (like ScareCrows) cloths filled with straw and it worked at keeping our crops from being impacted. The Ravens flew around squawking at the straw people in the field. They are still flying around squawking at our ScareRavens in the garden this year too. Smart birds learn though, how long this charade will fool these smart birds is yet to be determined. But at least they are not bothering our crops this year….

  • Based on new information coming to me I’m going to retract my advice to collect a dead raven yourselves. DO NOT TOUCH THE SICK OR DEAD BIRDS. These birds are susceptible to the West Nile Virus WNV and several other viruses that can also affect humans. There is a hotline number you can call if you see a sick or dead bird 1-877-968-2473 and more information on this website: http://www.westnile.ca.gov./ So far, no cases of WNV have been detected in Humboldt in 2011. Ravens are currently protected under the U. S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so killing them is a federal offense. Hashing over rumors accomplishes nothing. If someone has witnessed deliberate poisoning or has any other proof of who is doing this please come forward and contact the proper authorities.

  • Based on new information coming to me I’m going to retract my advice to collect a dead raven yourselves. DO NOT TOUCH THE SICK OR DEAD BIRDS. These birds are susceptible to the West Nile Virus WNV and several other viruses that can also affect humans. There is a hotline number you can call if you see a sick or dead bird 1-877-968-2473 and more information on this website: http://www.westnile.ca.gov./ So far, no cases of WNV have been detected in Humboldt in 2011. Ravens are currently protected under the U. S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so killing them is a federal offense. Hashing over rumors accomplishes nothing. If someone has witnessed deliberate poisoning or has any other proof of who is doing this please come forward and contact the proper authorities.

  • Well said Uti!

  • Well said Uti!

  • Funny you should mention. I’m sitting here watching the Ravens. They are being abused by the Redskins. Whom do I call?

  • Funny you should mention. I’m sitting here watching the Ravens. They are being abused by the Redskins. Whom do I call?

  • Ravens aren’t the only birds in short supply. I feel it has something to do with weather. The Blackbirds in town are mostly missing. The Crows are still bickering. This spring I had to shut the bedroom windows to keep from being awakened by bird chatter. This is a mild summer and I think that may have something to do with the migrations.

  • Ravens aren’t the only birds in short supply. I feel it has something to do with weather. The Blackbirds in town are mostly missing. The Crows are still bickering. This spring I had to shut the bedroom windows to keep from being awakened by bird chatter. This is a mild summer and I think that may have something to do with the migrations.

  • Please pardon me for going off-topic slightly, but I would encourage everyone in this area to not use anticoagulant rodenticides, (or any poison) which is the biggest seller around here. These poisons cause birds to bleed internally, so anyone investigating poisoning of the ravens should check for signs of rodenticides in any dead birds found, since they are easily obtainable by anyone at any garden supply or hardware store. These poisons do not quickly kill the rodents and any animal that eats the poisoned rodent, dead or alive, also gets poisoned. This includes Ravens, who may also eat the poison pellets if they are left in the open. Pets who eat rodents get poisoned as well. Owls are one species that suffer the most, since rodents are their primary prey. In one study in B.C. 70% of the owl livers tested contained one or more of the anticoagulent class of rodenticides. I hope folks will switch to spring traps only around their scenes. Wrap your rat trap bait with small piece of cheese cloth or nylon mesh and thread around the bait pedal to keep the mice from stealing the bait. When they tug on the mesh they get whacked too and you won’t have to re-bait your traps or use two sizes of traps. Remember one owl will eat many more rodents around your homestead year round than you can trap or poison, e.g. for Barn Owls 3-4 mice or voles a day and more during nesting season when they are feeding their young. They work for free!

  • Please pardon me for going off-topic slightly, but I would encourage everyone in this area to not use anticoagulant rodenticides, (or any poison) which is the biggest seller around here. These poisons cause birds to bleed internally, so anyone investigating poisoning of the ravens should check for signs of rodenticides in any dead birds found, since they are easily obtainable by anyone at any garden supply or hardware store. These poisons do not quickly kill the rodents and any animal that eats the poisoned rodent, dead or alive, also gets poisoned. This includes Ravens, who may also eat the poison pellets if they are left in the open. Pets who eat rodents get poisoned as well. Owls are one species that suffer the most, since rodents are their primary prey. In one study in B.C. 70% of the owl livers tested contained one or more of the anticoagulent class of rodenticides. I hope folks will switch to spring traps only around their scenes. Wrap your rat trap bait with small piece of cheese cloth or nylon mesh and thread around the bait pedal to keep the mice from stealing the bait. When they tug on the mesh they get whacked too and you won’t have to re-bait your traps or use two sizes of traps. Remember one owl will eat many more rodents around your homestead year round than you can trap or poison, e.g. for Barn Owls 3-4 mice or voles a day and more during nesting season when they are feeding their young. They work for free!

  • Ravens are to smart to just die off.They have their own plans. They probably went to find better food. Or there is a big disaster coming and they cleared out early.

  • Ravens are to smart to just die off.They have their own plans. They probably went to find better food. Or there is a big disaster coming and they cleared out early.

  • Now the difference between a raven and a crow, beside the obvious answer size, is that the ravens have one more of those pinion wing feathers.
    So really, one could say….
    it is just a matter of a pinion.

    (this one sounds better told than read)

  • Now the difference between a raven and a crow, beside the obvious answer size, is that the ravens have one more of those pinion wing feathers.
    So really, one could say….
    it is just a matter of a pinion.

    (this one sounds better told than read)

  • Turkey Vulture…

  • Turkey Vulture…

  • Ravens don’t seem like the migrating sort.
    In Redway lately there as been a noticeable absence of Ravens compared to the last few years.
    Maybe it’s all apart of the 2012 doomsday…

  • Ravens don’t seem like the migrating sort.
    In Redway lately there as been a noticeable absence of Ravens compared to the last few years.
    Maybe it’s all apart of the 2012 doomsday…

  • If a raven is poisoned, it’s doomsday for that bird. If Raven takes the poison, watch out.

  • If a raven is poisoned, it’s doomsday for that bird. If Raven takes the poison, watch out.

  • They are smart birds and my guess is someone told them all there is good eats somewhere, and off they went. Or find the person who is getting dive-bombed and screamed at by a murder of them.

  • Kym—Unfortunately that is a TURKEY VULTURE….wings, primary colors and the head are dead giveaways, but I would hate to see someone poison this intelligent bird for their personal gain. I know the use of poisoned rolled oats is common in some illegal gardens as well as once being used to poison crows, the ravens smaller cousin. Is it possible the outdoors growers less in tunes with the environment are poisoning them?

  • Kym—Unfortunately that is a TURKEY VULTURE….wings, primary colors and the head are dead giveaways, but I would hate to see someone poison this intelligent bird for their personal gain. I know the use of poisoned rolled oats is common in some illegal gardens as well as once being used to poison crows, the ravens smaller cousin. Is it possible the outdoors growers less in tunes with the environment are poisoning them?

  • Kym… I’m looking hard at the picture and I have to say Turkey Vulture… Ravens have square tails, as I recall, and not the separate flight feathers at the wing ends. Also, I detect the dark upper margin of the wings that vultures have. Ravens fly with the head extended…

  • Kym… I’m looking hard at the picture and I have to say Turkey Vulture… Ravens have square tails, as I recall, and not the separate flight feathers at the wing ends. Also, I detect the dark upper margin of the wings that vultures have. Ravens fly with the head extended…

  • Ravens have wedge shaped tails that are rounded on the end. Crows have straight squared off tails. It’s hard to tell from one long distance still photograph because Ravens are so acrobatic they move their tail and wing shapes a lot. The wing tip “fingers” being separate or together are not the best way to I.D. Ravens because they move them a lot while maneuvering around. I have seen Ravens doing acrobatics with each other where two birds clasp their feet together at high altitude, embrace with their wings and then tumble in a rolling dive, probably their version of “chicken” to see who lets go first before pulling out of the dive, or maybe they’re mating, I don’t know, but it looks like fun. Both Ravens and TV’s constantly move their heads around looking below when they are cruising and TV’s are also sniffing the air since they can smell a dead mouse from 200 feet up. That’s how TV’s find dead animals in the forested areas. Kym, if you can zoom in on this image look to see if there is a white underlining of the wings, that is a whitish coloration of the undersides of the flight feathers and blackish where the wing bones or “arms” are. That is the best flight I.D. of a TV. from straight below. TV’s soar with their wings held in a slight V or dihedral above their body and they rock back and forth, while most broad-winged hawks and Eagles fly steady with their wings held flat.

  • Ravens have wedge shaped tails that are rounded on the end. Crows have straight squared off tails. It’s hard to tell from one long distance still photograph because Ravens are so acrobatic they move their tail and wing shapes a lot. The wing tip “fingers” being separate or together are not the best way to I.D. Ravens because they move them a lot while maneuvering around. I have seen Ravens doing acrobatics with each other where two birds clasp their feet together at high altitude, embrace with their wings and then tumble in a rolling dive, probably their version of “chicken” to see who lets go first before pulling out of the dive, or maybe they’re mating, I don’t know, but it looks like fun. Both Ravens and TV’s constantly move their heads around looking below when they are cruising and TV’s are also sniffing the air since they can smell a dead mouse from 200 feet up. That’s how TV’s find dead animals in the forested areas. Kym, if you can zoom in on this image look to see if there is a white underlining of the wings, that is a whitish coloration of the undersides of the flight feathers and blackish where the wing bones or “arms” are. That is the best flight I.D. of a TV. from straight below. TV’s soar with their wings held in a slight V or dihedral above their body and they rock back and forth, while most broad-winged hawks and Eagles fly steady with their wings held flat.

  • I’ve gone back and blown up the photos I took. I still can’t tell definitively but I am leaning towards a turkey vulture. There is some light on the bottom of the wings but there is some on the top so that may just be highlights. The shots don’t show the head well because the sky is so bright behind it. Nonetheless, in one shot the beak hole shows up pretty well and it looks like a Turkey vulture’s.

  • I’ve gone back and blown up the photos I took. I still can’t tell definitively but I am leaning towards a turkey vulture. There is some light on the bottom of the wings but there is some on the top so that may just be highlights. The shots don’t show the head well because the sky is so bright behind it. Nonetheless, in one shot the beak hole shows up pretty well and it looks like a Turkey vulture’s.

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