Minion Man and I went on an anniversary trip (26 years and counting), leaving Super Son to minister unto the domestic corvids. We headed off to Colorado, where we spent five days in Colorado Springs, in an airbnb a stone’s throw away from the Garden of the Gods. We went hiking and saw awesome rocks and lovely views.

But that was nothing compared to the Garden of the Gods parking lot, where we met a group of black billed magpies checking the picnic area for leftovers. They are not Colorado’s official bird but should be. They are smart enough that they can recognize themselves in a mirror—one of the few species able to do so.

That was the beginning of the corvid scrumptiousness. The next day we went to the Cheyenne Zoo at 7:30 in the morning to hang out with Poe, a 23-year-old raven who doesn’t take any sass from anyone, except possibly the tortoises who live next door to her who, for some reason, she finds deeply terrifying. Poe can stack a series of cups and is crate trained. She also wanted little to do with me since apparently I was holding my hand wrong for stepping up. She even helpfully bit me to let me know I was doing it wrong but to little effect. I do not learn quickly.

After hanging out with Poe, we got to wander through an empty zoo which was another treat. The mountain lions were still snoozing but the eagles were ready to start their day.

Inspired by the awesomeness that is Poe, I decided we needed to see ravens in the wild. According to the Garden of the Gods park info, they hang out in the western part of the park. So off we went. We found lots of rocks, including the Siamese Twin Towers but no ravens.

The consolation prize was a visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Sanctuary at feeding time. The wolves were cool but—even better—once the meat was tossed over the fence, the ravens showed up. I should have know this would happen, as the two are known to have a symbiotic relationship. In fact, another term of raven is “wolf bird.” Ravens certainly scavenge from wolves after they have brought down a kill but the more interesting question is why the wolves tolerate it. There is evidence that the ravens locate injured or otherwise vulnerable prey and alert the wolves to an easy meal and get a share of the proceeds in return.

There were at least a dozen wild ravens, so my wolf to raven photo ratio is a little embarrassing. Suffice it to say I adhered to the sanctuary’s rule that one should only take 1-2 photos of each wolf but the rules said nothing about limiting photos of non-wolves. Why take one photo of a raven when you can take a dozen?

 

So, I have dozens of raven photos. Quick, to the collage mobile!

 

I didn’t get a photo of a scrub jay but that’s a goal for the next trip.