Sunday, June 19, 2011

severed head

Here's a real mystery: a severed raven's head, lying on a neighbor's property.   What would attack and massacre a raven?   An eagle, maybe - but I've not seen any here.   Our hawks have plenty of smaller and probably tastier birds to prey on - not to mention rabbits, etc.   A great horned owl?   But - see hawk food.   There was no raven carcass around to suggest that, say, it had been shot, and a coyote had chewed off the head and run off with the rest of the body.   Bernd Heinrich's wonderful book, Mind of the Raven, doesn't offer any hints, though it says, interestingly (and in this context unhelpfully) that ravens get more cautious of the unfamiliar as they grown older, not less.

Could it be witchcraft?   It was, after all, on the land of the people who are building the horrendous view-blocking extension.   But I didn't put it there (I haven't done a whole lot of witchcraft since my spells to get rid of warts, or help people win Premium Bond prizes, when I was about six - I found my powers there rather scary, and have been cautious ever since).   Could it be a warning to other ravens? (of what?).   Even if it had been poisoned - eating a gopher's remains, say - that still leaves the mystery of the rest of its rather large black feathery corpse.   Suggestions welcome ...

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