“Ravens give me the creeps,” Suzanne said. She was among the trio of angelic preschool teachers who ushered our kids into their first understanding of community outside our home. Each one radiated warmth and calm. Quite naturally whenever I dropped off or picked up the kids, I lingered and chatted, sponging up what I could.
“I saw a bunch of them as I was walking to work this morning, like a gang,” she said. “I just don’t like ’em.”
I hadn’t given ravens a good deal of thought before that, but once she said it, I had to agree with her. Who’s going to like a carrion bird? Even if they serve a vital purpose in any ecosystem, even more so in an urban one like ours.
“They do seem like bullies,” I said. I recalled to her a disturbing scene I witnessed not long after we moved to our Berkeley home a few years earlier. I’d heard a cacophony of birdsong from out in front, and saw small birds moving restlessly from branch to branch in the trees and bushes there. Eventually I figured out the object of their attention. A raven perched on a power line above our small sidewalk acacia tree, transferring its weight impatiently from one bony-leather claw to the other. This was the same tree in which I had just a few days earlier identified a sparrow, incubating eggs in a nest.