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November 30, 2004

Broadcasting

The summit ridge of Mount Diablo bears a couple of radio transmitters, relics of the days when the best and highest use of an isolated mountaintop was to use it as an antenna.

On Friday, as I left the summit and headed down past the lower of the two transmitting stations, I heard an odd noise like a mastiff barking behind a cinderblock wall, only more metallic. I stopped to listen, but the noise had ended. So I took another step or two, and there it was again.

And again. And again. I stopped on an outcrop of red and black basalt, braced myself on my walking stick, turned my back on the official scenic view below to scan the facility.

It was an unearthly noise, almost like nothing I'd ever heard before, except for an odd, familiar undertone of... what was it? Oh.

Raven.

I found her. She was perched in front of a twelve-foot metal parabolic dish, gronking every minute or so at the base of the parabola, then ruffling her feathers and dancing in apparent delight at hearing her cry echoed back, amplified and deeply distorted.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 30, 2004 04:06 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Comments

Oh, that is so wonderful!

Posted by: dale at November 30, 2004 04:30 PM
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Ravens, like poets, just can't get enough of themselves.

Posted by: Dave at November 30, 2004 05:03 PM
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*huge grin*

Posted by: Rana at November 30, 2004 05:21 PM
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I was saving this for when I'm up an running, but I have to share this with you Chris.

Outside Flagstaff, Arizona, on one of the myriad forest service roads surrounding the San Francisco Peaks, I once saw a Raven do the damnedest thing…3 times! It was one of those high country high wind days. The low clouds were being whipped into froth by a northeast gale, but as I do everyday I was out walking my dog Tito. The trees in the area were all second growth Ponderosa Pine about 40 years old and 60 to 80 feet tall with an occasional big snag emerging from the canopy. On top of one such snag next to the road was a Raven, horizontal into the wind. As I watched he(?) dropped down into the protected canyon of the road and flew upwind for perhaps 50 to 70 meters. At that point he popped up above the trees and into the 40 mph + wind. Flying into the wind he was moving backwards in relation to the ground and as he neared the old snag, would look between his dangling legs and try to land on his perch WHILE MOVING BACKWARDS! He accomplished this feat three times. There was no survival value to this activity. It was for the pure joy of it! Thinking of it now I'm still laughing out loud.

Posted by: OGeorge at November 30, 2004 06:07 PM
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i have read of ravens doing just this! they are characters, to be sure.

Posted by: Anne at December 1, 2004 01:50 PM
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Does anyone else remember that National Geographic piece on animals at play? They had pictures of a raven who would fly to the top of a snowy hill, slide down the hill on his back, then fly up to the top to do it again. Very, very cool!

Posted by: Rana at December 1, 2004 02:05 PM
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"Raven...
Black as pitch,
Mystical as the moon,

Speak to me of magic,
I will fly with you soon."

Medicine Cards
Jamie Sams & David Carson

Posted by: Crystal Dave at December 6, 2004 08:03 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs