[Tweeters] Snohomish Raven Flock

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Oct 7 22:20:22 PDT 2010

This afternoon (10/7) I was driving down the Lowell River Road headed out of Snohomish toward Everett. Just a mile out Snohomish , on the River side, is the undeveloped site of Fields Riffle County Park. As I was driving by I noticed a few crows out in the newly mowed hayfield. A bit more down the road I saw what was clearly a Raven - a big one - soaring low over also newly cut fields. I had some doubts about those 'crows' I saw before so I pulled a U turn and went back to check. Indeed they were all Ravens, scattered widely across the fields, single birds or groups of 2 or 3. As I walked down the road thru the field they were very skitterish and got as far away from me in the field as they could.

The reason for this Raven party was - Voles (aka meadow mice). The field had been mowed the day before or this morning leaving all the voles exposed. I watched about 10 birds flying off with voles in their bill's, and watched several as they flew to a spot, stalked the rodent by foot and - nabbed one! All the birds I saw carried the vole off to nearby trees to deal with after catching it. By the time I reached the river dike, all the birds had been spooked up into the tall cottonwoods at Fields Riffle. The last bird off the field flew straight toward me and circled over my head several times before joining the others. I counted 20 birds in the field and it looked like a few more up in the trees.

Watching the amazing success of the Raven's hunt was interesting enough, but also interesting as to locale as the fields here are only a mile from downtown Snohomish. I've seen a number of single Ravens (or heard) along this road before, and also pretty close to urban north Everett, but not many. It was something to see these wild things out in such a 'civilized' area - especially so many. But obviously they are out around the fringes as to have all found this fresh field. It will be interesting to see how long they 'glean' that vole supply.

Jeff Gibson, Everett Wa

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