Nature Notes

Vol. X May, 1932 No. 5

Birds of a Feather!, raven

While the fox, in many an old tale, is noted for his craft and slyness the raven has been known, by the Indians up and down the coast and in southeastern Alaska, as a wise and sagacious bird. And as such is he mentioned in their legends.

Permanent residents of Paradise Valley, after noting the episode mentioned below, have decided that the raven - as far as wits are concerned - is the master of the fox.

When first observed from the window of the Paradise Winter Lodge the fox in question was sitting beneath a snag looking up at a raven perched about fifteen feet above him. Another raven was flying restlessly about. Apparently the fox was thinking of what a fine dinner the raven would make. Finally, the fox, tired of the preponderous mental processes by which he had hoped to solve the problem of getting the bird within reach, gave up in disgust and strolled over behind the Lodge where food was sometimes put out. Smelling something he started digging in the snow and, after digging about two feet extracted a large bone with some meat upon it. This bone had been thrown out early that morning but, as it had been storming, the bone had been quickly covered with snow. Perhaps, too, the ravens knew that it was there but did not know just how to procure it.

Now when the raven in the tree saw the fox start off with the bone he swooped down in front of the fox and, greedily, the fox probably decided that he would like to have the bird as well as the prize already in his mouth. He jumped at the raven, dropping the bone in his haste, but the feathered tormentor kept out of reach. Then the fox left the bone and rushed at the bird but still the raven eluded him. And then, with the fox still vainly trying to make his capture, the second raven dropped to the ground (or rather snow), snatched up the bone and again soared skyward. The other bird soon joined his companion and together they flew off, laughing - if their croak could be called a laugh, while the fox slunk off in disgust.

Chas. B. Browne, Dist. Ranger
Paradise Valley.

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