This Common Raven nest has been nestled into the cliffs on Crane Lake for as long as I can remember – and it probably has been here for a lot longer than that. I have read that Ravens will use the same nest site for decades. The Ravens that are using the nest site at a particular time will stay in the same area and defend it against other Ravens that enter their territory.
The above photo shows the adult Raven arriving at the nest.
I think she’s giving me the evil eye. Don’t worry, I don’t think anything would be able to climb up the cliff to the nest.
After I posted my Spruce Grouse video, I found this really awesome video of a “Franklin’s” Spruce Grouse. This sub-species of the Spruce Grouse is only found in the northern Rockies and Cascade mountain ranges. Part of their display flight is a “wing-clap” which is shown in this video. I’ve heard the wing clap described as sounding like a shotgun. Watch the video and decide for yourself, either way it’s pretty cool! Kudos to the person who had the opportunity to video tape this bird in action.
Last Thursday, I spent over an hour with a very cooperative “displaying” Spruce Grouse.
He spent all his time flying back and forth from one pre-determined branch to the ground.
I think he may have fallen in love with the click of the shutter of my camera as he would puff up and click his tail in response. Or he could have thought it was another male Grouse challenging him.
Spruce Grouse display
Immeadiately before he would fly up, he would flick his wings once. Here is he preparing to flick his wings.
Only one time would he flutter his wings, then he would hesitate for a second before flying up to his perch. It was a great thundering sound when he flew up.
He would spread his tail and then quickly snap it shut, making a clicking sound. He took a little rest at one point and I watched as he ate Jack Pine needles.
Eventually, I stood right on his lek and he flew directly at me. I thought he was going to land on my head, but he lit just to my right on the ground – I could have reached out and touched him. He then cocked his head to the side and stared up at me. We looked at each other for a few seconds then he walked away to once again fly up to his favored branch. Back and forth he would go, over and over again, landing right next to me and then walking away to fly up to his branch.
At one point, a group of 6 Boreal Chickadees worked their way through the Jack Pine. It was fun to hear their spring song mixed in with their “chick-a-day, days”. Other birds heard were Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hermit Thrush.
I had been waiting to see the “flight display” for some time. I heard the thunder of wings in the silent woods and that is what attracted my attention. I saw the bird through the trees and thought I might spook him as I thrashed through the brush. He didn’t spook at all and I think he thought the shutter noise of my camera was another male clicking his tail. It was tons of fun!