Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 8, 2009

Raven-ology

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:18 am
"Nevermore"

"Nevermore"

Glancing at the daily schedule, I see that I am to drive up to Devil’s Garden Trailhead and take props along for a talk on birds. Anything I want to say, anything I want to take, is fine. I just need to rope ’em in so I can count ’em… the visitors, that is.

Into my bin go three laminated photographs, a raven skull and talon, a golden eagle skull, a raven puppet, raven cast of footprint, and my trusty SPAM water bottle. Oh, and the radio and extra battery, and brochures on rock art, sandwich board, small table, and extra map of park. I drive 30 minutes to the north end of the park and discover gleefully that a huge sandstone fin is casting shade on the trailhead where I will set up my table. Shade! A rare commodity at Aches NP!

The trail next to which I stand leads directly to Landscape Arch, the one on the header of my blog page. Longest in park, probably longest in world, and very thin in places — so won’t be here forever. Every hiker is on a mission and, unless they have children along (who are easily lured in with a raven puppet), few want to stop. The beauty of this is that those who DO stop actually want to learn a thing or two about ravens. The international tourists arriving by coach bus did not stop; they are always on a tight schedule and want to get to The Place and snap photos and leave.

A Swiss family stops by, whom I had seen the previous day in the Visitor Center. They were so sweet. The children are just learning English, so the parents had to translate everything I said about ravens, and then I got to see the delayed-reaction smiles on their faces. Holding up the two skulls and asking which one belongs to the raven is always the best guessing game, no matter what your language.

Ravens are THE most intelligent bird we know of. Visitors ALWAYS smile when I tell them about our resident con-artist raven up at Delicate. He fakes a limp in order to get sympathy food from tourists… who, even though we tell them NOT to, still feed them… and then as soon as he gets his cookie or whatever, his limp is magically gone! How did he learn this??

Mr Faker Raven at Delicate Arch

Mr Faker Raven at Delicate Arch

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1 Comment »

  1. A raven that fakes a disability so he can get food!! I thought only people did things like that!!

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — July 8, 2009 @ 10:43 am | Reply


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