Okay, to be totally honest, this female Raven really only TIED the world record. What world record could a Raven set, you may be wondering. Well, she laid 7 eggs. SEVEN! That ties the most ever recorded in a Raven nest…and Ravens are found around the globe!
My friend Paul Webster called me up this spring and asked what bird might have made the nest he discovered in a most precarious spot. It was on a high wooden railroad trestle, 5 feet below the tracks and 80 feet above the river. It contained seven beautifully mottled blue eggs. Only one bird I know of would nest on a trestle and be sitting on eggs in late March (March 24 to be exact)…the Common Raven.
And the Common Raven is anything but common…It is an extraordinary bird, extremely intelligent and resourceful…and they can even talk! (I met one in an Austrian zoo who stopped me dead in my tracks by doing a perfect imitation of a zookeeper by croaking “Achtung! Achtung!” to me as I walked by his cage. I turned and looked into the intelligent eyes of a Raven, a Raven holding a stick in his mouth. The real human zookeeper told me that he does that so people will stop and play tug of war with him and his stick, which I did.)
Ready to fledge.
Five youngsters have made it to the fledging stage. This photo was taken May 16th. What happened to the other two eggs? I don’t know but it is impressive that five have survived. My other question is how are they not deaf? Living five feet below an active railroad track!
The wide photos (10-20mm lens) of all the nestlings were taken by setting the 10-second self timer, pressing the shutter, then lowering my camera between the railroad ties by its strap and then wedging the camera against the bottom of the ties until the shutter released. The young were loudly squawking but mom made only one semi-close pass. She was upset though and continually croaked and kept a close eye on me. After five minutes I left. I wish them well.