23 April 2010

Skywatch Friday: Raven Drops Its Pack

I was on my way home to Walkerville (elevation 6309') from the little college where I teach (elevation 5500'). It's a good hoof up the hill, with an 800 foot elevation gain in the 1&1/2 miles distance. Always a good excuse to pause for a photo of the 170-foot tall steeple of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (a Gothic Revival structure from 1938):

And a photo of smoke rising from a National Forest Service "slash" burn in the Highland Mountains to the south:

And the silhouettes of trees near the old and now-empty Westside Reservoir:

Ravens (Corvus corax) are a common bird on the landscape of Butte, Montana. Other Montana cities have crows or magpies, but Butte has ravens. In twenty years of walking up and down the hill, I've gotten to know them pretty well. One flew over and gave a friendly "quork:"

To which I politely replied, of course. In Ravens in Winter, ethologist Bernd Heinrich quotes an Athapaskan woman: "One of the things we say to raven while we hunt is 'tseek’aal, sits’a nohaaltee’ogh,' which means ‘Grandpa, drop a pack to me.’ If the bird caws and rolls it is a sign of good luck."  Following my greeting, Raven rolled over in flight (note the photo is not upside down):

It was a good day.

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7 comments:

gardenpath said...

Wow, that was interesting. Glad you had a good sign from the raven. Maybe it is your totem..

What beautiful photos this week.

Powell River Books said...

I love all the different calls the ravens make. We have at least two full time residents near our cabin. They visit us on occasion, but don't cause many problems. But if our friend John and his dog Bro come, all bets are off. They know John carried food for Bro in his backpack. If he leaves it unattended they will tear open the pack in search of food. One day one of them took a full can of sardines up on the nearby cliff, opened it with his beak and had a tasty lunch. The whole process amazed me: 1) he remembers John and Bro, 2) he could carry the heavy sardine can, 3) he could get the can open and 4) he could eat the entire contents. Amazing birds! - Margy

Maria said...

Hi!
What a great story... the photos are super!
I had to enlarge them all...especially those of the raven ~
Hope you find the weekend to be filled with "the luck of the raven."
*Maria

secret agent woman said...

I've always liked the look of a steeple up against a blue sky.

EG Wow said...

I am struck by the pure blue of your skies. Ontario is a humid place amongst the Great Lakes so we often have a bit (or a lot) of haze.

Linnea W said...

Those are wonderful sky shots. I really like the first one with the tower competing with the big cloud. Terrific colors, too! Enjoy the week.

troutbirder said...

We've been gone and busy so I'm just catching up.
A neat series of posts, as always Eco. Say hi, to friend Raven for me.