Monday, 5 March 2012

A Trail of Two Ravens - Part 2

Recently on a winter hike at the Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve, my wife and I were not alone. Flying nearby and then landing in far off trees two Ravens were spotted.  It was their wild call that first caught our attention. It is truly a sound of the north. Not the caw of a crow but the croak of the Raven.

Ravens are indeed uncommon in this area. It was only recently, that in the fall of 2001 Ravens started to be seen in the Kelso/Flamborough area. We now find that this pair or maybe pairs of Ravens stay in the area year round. The presence of this bird species speaks volumes about the habitat of the area and how it can support a myriad of life forms.  

Ravens are the largest black bird in the world. Their range takes them to almost every continent. They are considered to be the most intelligent of birds and are very much involved in native folklore. In West Coast cultures they are known as the “trickster”. Having this bird in Hamilton brightens our sky.

Ravens are best told from their close relative the crow by their much larger size, a robust throat and a diamond shaped tail on this black of black birds. The wings in flight are long and sickle like in shape. The tail of a crow has a square or flat end. Listen for the croak

In 2011 a pair of Ravens successfully nested in the north part of  Flamborough. Ravens are now being seen regularly in Flamborough all year and last fall and into this winter Ravens are now being seen on a somewhat regular basis flying across the lands across the top of the Stoney Creek Mountain and in the skies over Grimsby. It is very likely that another nesting will occur, time will tell us where in the Hamilton area. 

It is always interesting to see how lands and their inhabitants do not stand still as time moves along. Old fields become forests, tree species change over time as the forest is left on its own and the wildlife, whether it be a Monarch Caterpillar feeding on a milkweed or a Cooper’s Hawk patrolling the forests for smaller birds, always reflects the vegetation and habitats of the day. As the habitats change so do the animals living in them.

Now in midwinter the Raven stands out in the sky and it is one of about 25 bird species that might be found on a winter hike in the Fletcher Creek area. 

Bruce Mackenzie
Manager of Customer Service & Operations
Hamilton Conservation Authority

How to get there:
The Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve is located on the east side of Puslinch Concession Rd 7. Take Highway 6 North from Hamilton to the Gore Rd, about 3 km north of Freelton. Turn west on Gore Rd (Concession 11 W.) and follow it for about 5 km and turn north on Concession  Rd.7 and the entrance is on the right very shortly after you turn.  If the snow is right the cross country skiing here is wonderful. Create your own ski tracks on the trail through this pristine area.

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