Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23: Conclave of Ravens

This morning I joined a group of friends for brunch atop Ragged Mountain. We rode up the chairlift two-by-two, with bags of bagels, a box of coffee, and sundry bagel spreads, and found a spot in the sun for our picnic. The sunlit fall foliage looked brighter, the bay sparkled in the distance, and we felt fortunate to have picked such a beautiful day for our outing.

View from Ragged Mountain to Penobscot Bay, Mount Battie 
At one point I noticed a swirl of dark birds in the sky above the summit of Ragged, to our northwest. I figured they were a kettle of vultures, which live in these mountains and are often seen soaring over the ridge line. This was, after all, a perfect day to ride thermals. But they weren't vultures, they were ravens. While ravens also live in the Camden Hills, it's unusual to see such a large group of them all together, hanging out, as it were. This time of year it could be a family group, or it could be a flock of young birds gathered to spend the winter together in a little corvid conclave. They were joined by a red-tailed hawk, which didn't seem to be interacting with them in an aggressive way. Rather, the birds seemed to be enjoying the unseasonably warm morning air together, much as we all were down below on the sunny ledge.

Twelve humans observe
nine ravens, all enjoying
sunny mountaintop.

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