The Start of the Season

The 2020 count has started! I’m back for my fourth spring on the mountain, the weather is on a warming trend, Turkey Vultures have arrived, and the snow on Brockway is slowly melting!

While the Northern Goshawk that circled the shack on the 27th (picture up top) was exciting, the greatest excitement of the season thus far happened today. A day that will go down in history (if you’re a Common Raven), a day that will be re-told for generations to come (if you’re a Common Raven). If you have spent anytime around the Ravens on Brockway you know they hate Golden Eagles. And by hate I mean they will spot them a mile out and chase and attack (I’m talking pulling feathers off the Golden’s back attack) them until they change directions. The Ravens ignore Bald’s, but if a Golden so much as cracks the horizon the Ravens are on it. The inexperienced immature Golden’s typically suffer the wrath of the Raven’s to a far greater extent than the adults, but usually other than a few feathers lost and the embarrassment of having to retreat, the Golden’s have control of the encounter (despite what the Raven’s will tell you).

Then today happened. An unlucky adult Golden Eagle had the unfortunate experience of meeting the Brockway Common Ravens at their nest site. The result was drama that hadn’t been witnessed on Brockway in several years (if not ever). The Ravens drove the Golden down in to the valley trees, eventually forcing it to forgo all dignity and land on the ground were it had to hop/walk through the undergrowth until it could find a gap in the trees big enough for it to take flight, the whole time screaming at the Ravens. The Ravens never gave it a moment of peace, attacking and harassing it nonstop. After 15-20 minutes on the ground the Golden made a break for it, got it out of the trees and through the Ravens, and (with the Ravens in hot pursuit) reached the safety of the next ridge.

The Ravens spent the rest of the count much more vocal than normal, and with good reason. How many other Ravens in the Midwest have taken down a Golden Eagle?

Aquila grounded
Escaping without its dignity
The true ruler of Brockway
A more regal Golden from last week

Other birds of note locally include a Black-backed Woodpecker that made a brief appearance during the count on the 1st, a calling Northern Saw-whet Owl on the 31st, Northern Shrike on the 2nd (below), Western Meadowlark in town on the 31st, and Bohemian and Ceder Waxwings in town on the 1st.