Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Raven's Nest

My running route this afternoon went to the top of the Just Giver trail west of Happy Creek, which is where I spied a bundle of sticks in the forked top of an aspen tree that wasn't there last year. Whacking the trunk with a stick rewarded me with the silent exit of an adult raven. Likely the pair is incubating eggs right now. It will be interesting to watch the progression of the raven family over the nesting season.

Ravens, red-tailed hawks, northern goshawks, ospreys, and bald eagles are the main builders of large stick nests in our area. Raven nests are often near openings, sometimes in isolated trees. Goshawks and red-tails are more secretive, locating their nests below the top of the canopy in denser forest. Ospreys and eagles make massive nests, often in the open near water, that they add to year after year.

Other big birds, especially our 2 largest owls, use old stick nests for their own nests - great gray owls and great horned owls are the likely opportunists. You never know what might be on top of that platform. Several years ago a researcher studying American marten sometimes found his radiotagged animals loafing on stick nests on warm days. A nice private breezy place. What more could a snoozy marten want?

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