Every day around feeding time we see black wings approaching the Grizzly Bear Habitat. Several Common Ravens, Corvus corax
, fly in to see what's on the menu today.
In the wild it is not uncommon to see a murder of Common Ravens following Grizzly Bears around and picking up their leftovers. They are bold enough to even steal the food right out from under the nose of the bear! At the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, we see similar behaviors.
Today we were feeding Grinder and Coola a special meal consisting of some ground beef. Normally the bears get their meat on the bone, but every once in awhile they get some choice cuts of softer ground meat. The Ravens were quick to pick up that this was an easy meal to fill their beaks with!
We're not quite sure how much was taken by the Ravens instead of the bears, but rest assured Grinder and Coola got a large portion of the meat. They took a few swats at the Ravens but for the most part ignored them. The birds were cheeky enough to walk right up to the bears and wait for a distraction, then zip in and grab a beakful of meat. After, they struggled to get airborne as the stolen grubs were weighing them down enough to affect their flight!
To us here at the refuge it's always a special treat to see wild interactions such as these. What we are observing here must be quite similar to what goes on in the wild. If both the bears and the ravens were not comfortable with people being nearby they would behave differently and act in an abnormal way - instead we get to see a mostly pure interaction.
Watch for the cheeky Common Raven on your next visit to Grouse Mountain - listen for their quark calls echoing around the mountaintop.