Sunday 16 August 2015

Ravens of Victoria: the Bored and the Beautiful

Life in Victoria, B.C., proceeds at a slow pace, even for the ravens.  Some of them cope with their boredom by tormenting the humans who pass them by.  This year, for a few months, there was one raven who perched in the rafters of the Market Square (a public quadrangle, downtown).  He/she passed the time by swooping down to pass his/her claws through the hair of people walking up a particular (outdoor) staircase.

The bird behaved as if it were snatching hats from the heads of these pedestrians, who responded with various degrees of alarm and confusion.  Shop-owners put up a warning sign, struggling to describe what the danger really was: "Beware! Ravens dive-bombing!"  If I hadn't seen the bird doing this myself, I would have no idea what they meant by "dive-bombing".  The bird was thoroughly delighted with the way people would cower, etc., after it snatched at them this way, and would "laugh" (cawing) in the rafters, after each victim.  Eventually, I suppose, some civil servants captured the bird, and the sign was taken down (I don't know if they killed him/her, or if the bird was merely relocated).

The raven shown in these pictures is a different specimen.  He/she tries to get food out of people waiting for the bus on the university campus.  To some extent, I think, the bird does this out of boredom.  Perhaps he/she will come up with ways to scare people into dropping their sandwiches.