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"!
I found a very similar story titled: Wild Bird Wednesday