Friday, March 8, 2013

2 Ravens (or Crows) attack a squirrel and carry it away

When I left work two weeks ago, I saw my first robin pecking at the ground. Ah, "Spring is here" I thought. The temperatures were warming up and most of the snow had melted.

The next morning, I was home, drinking a cup of coffee and looking out at the early Saturday morning sun.

A squirrel was in a tree building a nest in a nearby tree. Yes I thought, indeed "Spring is here".

The nest was quite large, about 2 feet in diameter (I guess) and was located in the crock of two branches about 20 feet above the ground. The squirrel would run and jump to adjacent branches, nibble off a twig, and then insert it into the nest. Every so often, the squirrel entered the nest and appeared to push everything into place.

After I watched the squirrel jump off to another branch, a big black bird landed about a foot away from the nest. It stood there, cocking its head, looking at the nest. At first I thought it was a crow, but it looked awfully large. So, I decided it must be a Raven.

As the squirrel returned to the nest, the raven hopped away. But when the squirrel ran off to get another twig, the raven boldly hopped over to the nest and looked into it. Then the squirrel returned and the raven backed away.

I thought it was odd that the squirrel ignored the bird, but it must not have felt threatened.

When the squirrel left the nest again, a second raven landed on an adjacent branch. "Two against one", I thought. But the both birds just stood on the branches, watching the busy squirrel.

When the squirrel returned one more time, and entered the nest, the two ravens attacked. With open wings, they hopped onto the nest. The first raven grabbed the squirrel by the neck, and the second raven took the tail. Then they flew off together with the squirrel trying to get free. I watched them fly until they disappeared over the trees.

"Wow" I thought! I didn't know that crows or ravens would attack a living squirrel. I knew they were scavengers and would eat a dead carcass, but I didn't know that they would hunt in pairs and kill their prey.

I told this story to my mother-in-law who is 85 years old. She grew up on a farm and told me "Oh yes, they do attack animals". She said that when she was young, her mother told her to watch the chickens and chase away any birds that would land. But, as she was watching, a big crow (or raven perhaps), swooped down from the sky, grabbed a small chicken, and flew away with it. Just like that!

So now when I look out my window and see that unfinished nest, I think about the poor squirrel who was just trying to make a summer home for itself and live in harmony with all the wild creatures. I guess "Spring is really here"!

Read more:
I found a very similar story titled: Wild Bird Wednesday


  1. Send them my way. I'll take crows in my trees over squirrels tearing up my attic any day.

    1. @Pat G

      Ha Ha! I spoke to the crows and they are on their way up. But, they said it may take a few days because they want to do some sightseeing along the way. (Gotta say though, all the squirrels in my yard are gone now).

      Anyway, sorry to hear about your attic.

      Thanks for reading the post and for leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

  2. I had no idea. Yesterday I was walking dogs when I saw 2 crows pestering a squirrel. I scared the crows away and then wondered if the crows were playing or hunting. So I googled crows hunting squirrels and got many answers. You blog was one of the answers. Wow! I had no idea. I was glad to have helped the squirrel escape and a little sad that I helped the crows miss a meal. There must not be enough dead squirrels being run down by cars for the crows to survive. Or maybe there are too many and they are just craving a live one. Who knows.

    1. You did a very good deed Merika, and I'm sure the squirrel is thankful. Until I saw that last year, I had no idea that crows were so daring.

      Thanks for writing.

  3. I feed our squirrels here every winter and if I EVER see ANYTHING'S TRYING TO GET THEM GOD HELP THEM. The squirrels fight off the blue jays unless there is more than two. NOTHING BETTER TOUCH MY SQUIRRELS. I Have deer birds squirrels and so far they get along. I wouldhave chased the birds off first time it got closeto my squirting reguardless. instead of taking pictures of them attacking the poor thing.

  4. The 'big' crows are ravens. They mate for life and are typically seen as a pair. They are like alpha crows -- bigger and with attitude. Amongst the subtle differences to crows, Ravens have a much deeper and louder throaty 'caw' than crows. Ravens will rule the yard keeping out crows and other unwanted critters.


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