"The Agile Scavenger"
Ravens have an amazing ability to judge the speed of an approaching vehicle and hop to the side of the road just out of harms way, or to soar clear of an oncoming car the very last second. This is good, for when food is in short supply, Ravens will successfully harvest a road kill. Their motto is ‘steal eggs, eat leftovers, and find road kills’.
In the last hundred years Ravens have adapted from the speed of horse and buggy to automobiles traveling 70 - 80 mph. HUMMMMM- oncoming vehicle! Swooshhh - Raven’s gone! Eagles, Hawks, and Falcons don’t recognize the danger as quickly. They spend much of their time ‘on the kill’ soaring, perching on poles, looking for prey. When prey is spotted, they make a swooping dive for their next meal, ignoring oncoming vehicles and SMASH! When they find an already dead lunch prepared on the highway, it’s time to eat and not be disturbed by anyone!
While traveling on the freeway in northern Utah last week we saw the remains of a beautiful hawk in the middle of the road who had not learned to avoid confrontation of high speed vehicles. Fate on the freeways (road kill) give raptors a brand new, dangerous hunting ground. Several times we’ve slowed down or even stopped our vehicle to avoid hitting Eagles who didn’t want to leave their fresh road kill. Eagles sometimes gorge themselves to a point where they are unable, or unwilling to fly out of the way and succumb to speeding cars. Bird adaptability makes it possible to live in today’s world of high speeds.
This winter, when approaching birds feeding on a road kill, slow down, take a good look at the scavenger, be it Eagle, Hawk, Falcon, or the agile Raven. Hope it is the Raven, for the first three could impact your vehicle. Remember we ‘gotta make a living somehow’, and be thankful you don’t have to depend on a road kill.
The Artist this week is Brenda Rusnell. If you have questions about birds or the upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon activities (presentations & field trips) call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996.