[Tweeters] An interesting interaction between a raven and a black bear and me

Rob Sandelin floriferous at msn.com
Thu Sep 20 17:38:46 PDT 2007

I was scouting Osprey Park in Sultan for a couple field trips I am doing
next week to view pink salmon spawning. It was a drizzly morning and I had
the place to myself.  When I reached the edge of the river bar, downstream
on the "island" was a black bear eating Salmon. I had stopped at the edge of
the trees to scan since I have seen otters and mink here during salmon
rungs. To my delight the wind was coming off the river. I remembered there
is a side trail through the woods which leads to an opening across from the
island and so I put my stealth hat on and snuck downstream through the
woods. As I approached the edge of the opening I found a perfect place,
maybe 50 feet across the channel to view the bear.  I kicked myself mentally
for not bringing my camera but I happily settled down for some choice bear
watching. My bear watching however was short lived.  After a couple of
minutes a raven flew down the river and landed in a cottonwood behind the
bear. It made an odd call that I have not heard a raven make before and
immediately the bear lifted up its head and began looking all around. Its
gaze passed by me several times so I figured it did not see me. After about
45 seconds of scanning the bear turned around and looked directly at the
Raven. The raven made the odd call again and this time the bear picked up
the salmon it was eating and it moved quickly, but not running, away from my
side of the island and then downstream out of view.  In my experience with
bears in the past when they detect you they stare in your direction. This
bear never did that, and the wind was in my favor. 
The Raven then flew into a tree almost overhead of me and made even an odder
call, this one sounding almost  like a cell phone ring!  Three sharp rolling
metallic notes in quick succession.  I came away with the distinct
impression that the raven "told" the bear that I was there. As I walked back
through the woods the raven followed me for a time, although it made no
further sounds. 
Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School, Monroe, WA
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