Friday, August 26, 2011

Flyday - Ravens

Raven in flight, Phippsburg, Maine
 I found this bird after it had been shot out of the sky. It's legal to shoot crows. Swing low, sweet chariot. 

FLYday is an homage to what our feathered friends do best, fly.

(This post was Editor's Pick for Open Salon {}, August 25, 2011)


  1. Such a shame. Tell me how it makes sense that it is legal to shoot ravens - to shoot anything. To shoot. Our ravens here in Cape Breton are relatively small. The crows are bigger, believe it or not!

  2. Robin, it is not legal to shoot Ravens. They are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. Here is link to the birds protacted under the act:

  3. Thanks, Hilke I did know that. My error was that as I was assembling those photos, I was thinking maybe it was a crow, not a raven and that I had erred in the ID. My old brain stumbles around with globs of info and details sometimes. I is legal I believe (without looking at the link) to shoot crows. Either way, I think it's a monstrosity. Swing lo, sweet cheriot.

  4. It's sad to think people get their kicks by shooting innocent birds. They need to get a life. Love that first photo; beautiful capture.

  5. Yeh I thought so that raven were protected!! The first shot is nice, the second remind me about the human stupidity!!

  6. Chris, Thank you. That was the point of the images, the juxtaposition of the wild and free and our stupidity. Thanks for the read and comment.

  7. TexWisGirl,
    Ya, kinda funny in a horrific sort of way, like someone slipping on a banana peel

  8. Heartbreaking image. Killing crows is bad juju. Crows are very smart, and have facial recognition skills (have you seen the marvelous episode about crows on PBS Nature? can view online for free). I walk every morning and regularly exchange pleasantries with a big crow who clearly recognizes me. Crows apparently can communicate to one another through generations who the dangerous humans are. Hopefully, this information has been relayed to the dead bird's friends and family.


    August 26, 2011 10:18 AM

  9. What heron *and* Scarlett said. Looks like we're pals in a very sympathetic way. We have huge flocks here, and although they cause some amazing damage, we still love them.

    Candace Mann

    August 26, 2011 11:03 AM

  10. agree with you Robin, as the crows outside the window underscore my sentiments with their caws.


    August 26, 2011 11:48 AM

  11. It's legal to do this? And leave it lying on a child's swing. The outspread wings seem symbolic to me. Sad testament to our way of thinking.

    Chrissie Pissie

    August 26, 2011 02:36 PM

  12. this hits a little close to home for me. i am kin to crows and ravens.

    Murder Of Crows

    August 26, 2011 07:12 PM

  13. Dawn Simmons Fine commented on your post in Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp.

    Dawn Simmons Fine

    2:05pm Aug 26


  14. Karen Mcnorton commented on your note "Flyday - Ravens".

    Karen wrote: "Why is it legal to shoot them? I can't believe people do it for "fun"(although I'm getting to an age where nothing surprises me anymore) Are they considered "vermin"? Near here, a few years ago a law was passed(with much controversy) allowing people to shoot crows, the reason given was there are "too many" and they are eating farm crops. Is it something like that? I think its discusting."

  15. My first husband and I saved a baby crow once from a field. We named him Rastus and he lived with us for about 6 months. Once he could fly well we took him outside and set him free. Great feeling! I always pay more attention if I pass more than one crow when driving like they are warning me.
    Why would you kill a living creature for fun?

    Lunchlady 2

    August 26, 2011 07:58 PM

  16. If I could pick my own totem it would be the crow. Thanks for the sentiment and the photos.

    Rodney Roe

    August 27,2011 05:15 AM

  17. A Simple ShutterbugAugust 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Although not my favorite bird, I would never want to kill one or see one killed for no reason, very sad.

    A Simple Shutterbug

    August 28, 2011 07:39 AM

  18. As a boy in central Maine the farmers used to pay 10 dollars for any dead crow you shot on their property. I could never understand it. In India the crow actually blesses a Death Ceremony.Great one of the crow on the swing seat.

    Algis Kemezys
    August 28, 2011 07:20 PM

  19. Algis, given the current economy, $10 bucks a head could be pretty inspirational. If they ate the crows they shot, maybe I could see it. No jokes about eating crow here, kids. That would be way too easy!

  20. People who kill animals for no reason are the worst kinds of people. The good thing is, I've read that crows are incredibly intelligent, and if one of them gets shot somewhere, those who witness the event will communicate it to other crows, and they will avoid the place. So hopefully the crow-killer won't have any further opportunities to do his wicked work. RIP to that lovely crow.

    Alysa Salzberg
    August 29, 2011 05:54 AM

  21. What is wrong with people that they derive enjoyment from snuffing out wildlife? Just go home and play World of Warcraft, you jerks out there who kill birds for real.

    August 29, 2011 08:26 AM

  22. I put my gun down when I left the Army in 1967 and I vowed I would never touch one again.

    I've kept that vow. / R
    August 29, 2011 10:56 AM

  23. This is so disgusting on so many levels. Many people believe crows are scavengers.....aren't we all? -R-

    Christine Geery

    August 29, 2011 11:34 AM

  24. Crows are awesome birds. Jet black, cousins to their larger kin, the raven (nevermore, quoth the raven) and migratory. They are smart. It's possible they're smarter than most dogs and it's clear they are smarter than some people.
    I live in the rural areas of Central Texas and have a Pecan Orchard for a next door neighbor. I sneak out and stalk all manner of birds and other wildlife. I don't shoot, I photograph. I've even managed to stop calling photography, "shooting." I think it sends the wrong message.
    I listen to crows. They make an amazing variety of sounds, calls and combinations.
    And I don't care what anyone tells you, if they give you directions and say, "Well, it's about three miles as the crow flies..." You better ask them to give you road directions, or even straight line directions. I've seen crows fly.
    Belive me, you don't want to follow a crow's path for directions. They loop and swerve, backtrack, jink and jitter as they fly. I suspect that they have learned this behavior since the first arrows were sent their way and have advanced their techniques throughout the advent of firearms.
    Is that crow on the swing a natural or positioned shot?


    August 29, 2011 12:18 PM

  25. I can see why someone would kill a crow/ raven. I'm sure they create havoc on a farm, but they are such intelligent creatures that it seems a shame crows/ravens are being killed for sport. R

    August 29, 2011 12:59 PM

  26. Hmmm...

    Many people forget that crows are "Mother Nature's Clean Up Crew." Crows can eat some fairly disgusting things and thrive. They are fun to watch. I have a special feeding tray set up in my backyard. I put leftovers, small chunks of stale bread, peanuts and dog food kibble out for the crows.
    When they come for those snacks, the crows also patrol our lawn and flowerbeds, looking for bugs. We do not have to use sprays to control bugs in our yard. The crows do that for us.
    I’ve had as many as about 50 crows in our cherry tree during winter. When there is snow, it is fun to see so many crows hunkering on the snow covered branches. It is an interesting contrast of black and white.
    Some of my neighbors do not like the cawing, so I only put out the food in the middle of the day.
    Every now and then, a crow leaves a ‘gift’ on the feeding tray. I have been saving all of the gifts. I remember the first one very well. It was about two weeks after Valentine’s Day a few years ago. After the crows had cleaned the tray it was bare. About an hour later, I noticed something in the middle of the tray. It was violet in color and a tad smaller than my fingernail. As I got closer, I could see that it was a Valentine’s Day candy heart. The amazing thing about it was its position on the tray. It was as if it had been mathematically determined to be the exact center of the tray. One little heart candy that said LOVE. How did that get there on the tray…?

    August 29, 2011 01:11 PM

  27. this kind of cruel crazy makes me immeasurably sad. why? why kill an animal who bears you no harm?
    humans strike again. what next? really? what new brand of human shitheadedness will show itself? with all this grand advanced sensory equipment, speech capability and five fingered dexterity our species still enjoys being the planet's greatest asshole.

    Foolish Monkey
    August 29, 2011 02:27 PM

  28. This is so sad and brought back such bad memories. I shot a cow with my BB Gun when I was eleven years old. It affected me so badly. I sobbed and sobbed. It was such a traumatic ordeal. From that moment on I've never touched a gun or harmed another animal. I have so much respect now for all life it is so dear, fragile and fleeting. R>espectlly yours.

    tg within
    August 29, 2011 02:32 PM

  29. a well-deserved EP--and a most poignant photo

    Sarah Cavanaugh
    August 29, 2011 03:37 PM

  30. BREAKS MY HEART. So senseless. ~Aimee

  31. Why don't we change the Law instead of bemoaning this activity. Every crow would be eternally grateful to us - for righting a wrong. This is an old privilege who's time has come to and end if would put some animal justice elbow grease behind our maudlin mentality. This would help the planet, the beings we share this planet with and there is nothing like ACTION to soothe our aching heart and make a difference. ~Aimee

  32. A powerful photo. The crow is one of the few animals you will never see as road kill. They are simply too smart. They have a keen sense of awareness and are astute judges of character. As birds of carrion they play an essential role in maintaining the health of our environment. I'm sure the photographer knows these's a shame the moron with the gun didn't.

    August 29, 2011 06:50 PM

  33. I would like to add that in Native and First People lore, crows and ravens are as revered as hawks and eagles. I love WhistleBerries' story, and I have found, on my own farm, where crows and ravens are welcomed, they are neither pests nor annoyances. In mythology, the crow symbolizes integrity and doing unto others as we would like them to do to us. Crow teaches us to know ourselves beyond the limitations of one-dimensional thinking and laws. It is about bringing magic into our lives. This animal teaches to appreciate the many dimensions both of reality and ourselves, and to learn to trust our intuition and personal integrity. There is magic wherever crows are. They give us the message that there is magic alive in our world and this magic is ours to use and create a new world for ourselves with.

    what this person did is pathological.
    Murder Of Crows
    August 30, 2011 12:51 AM

  34. I love crows...for no particular reason except that they are beautiful and I relate to them. Cawing, loud, obtrusive - the qualities I observe in myself that I both like and dislike. I like how they bounce on their skinny legs. But I like other creatures in general (with you, however, on fleas and ticks and mosquitoes).
    I'm not sure how much they affect crops here, although the farmers seem to have creative ways to scare them. The tin pie plate with a face painted on it is my favorite, like art in a field...good to know that you manage them on your farm with respect.
    However, don't get me started on rude squirrels...they have infested my building (I'm a renter) and are quite brazen...I would never kill them, but wish to give them some birth control!

    August 30, 2011 09:50 AM

  35. Oh and congrats AGAIN,,, for editor's pick!!!!!!!!!! (That's 10 exclamations and don't break your arm patting yourself on the back :-)

  36. Gorgeous raven shot. Legal to shoot crows? I thought they were protected under the MBTA?

  37. It's a shame! Why kill animals just for fun?

  38. No words needed for the second shot. Superb commentary!

  39. I've read all the comments here Robin and like everyone here feel rather sick about the American Crow being shot but I must point out, it is NOT legal to shoot any non-game bird other than House Sparrows and European Starlings, and those two species only because they are non-native to North America. You can check the list of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

    Like everyone has said, Covids are all very intelligent and Crows and Ravens are right up there at the top of the list.

    Here is a link to the NPR story on the Crow Paradox. It is very interesting!

  40. That is certainly an unusual photo - too bad though . . .

  41. Awesome pictures!

    August 30, 2011 11:01 AM

  42. Robin,
    How very sad. Can imagine the sinking of your heart at your discovery.
    All the corvidae are special. My special species is the scrub jay--love their boldness and thievery. Have had the privilege of being close to a couple of them thru rehabing them.
    A great winter's read is Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich--you may already know of him. He has a passion for them, having one as a pet when a child. Incredible insights. Lives in Vermont and Maine also!
    Hope all is well with you!

    August 31, 2011 12:30 AM

  43. Of all birds I think crows have the most personality. I find this sad.

    August 31, 2011 12:50 AM

  44. Your two photos make a powerful editorial statement!

  45. Pat, thank you. A case where the less said the better. Just the visual. Thank you for the view and thoughtful comment.