"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's Hard Out There for a Corvid

The sharp black beak taps the small container, easily puncturing the white plastic.   The raven tastes the spicy delights within, a mixture of sweetness and tang for which it has no words.  It moves on to the second container with more of the piquant sauce that helps take the edge off its hunger.

Then a human comes along in a burgundy truck, interrupting its al fresco dining.  The raven spreads its wings and heads for the nearest spruce tree.   In the world of ravens, those sauce containers are dinner.   In the world of humans, those sauce containers are litter, tossed out the window of a moving vehicle with the rest of the McDonalds wrappings. 

The human stands with grab stick and yellow bag in hand, considering the white sauce containers.  It moves away, gathering the paper bag, napkins, and cardboard sleeves, before returning to the five sauce cups.   Three are still full.   More consideration, some mulling, a bit of indecision.   Into the yellow bag goes the raven’s dinner.

Tonight the wind blows and the rain lashes at the raven clinging to a tree branch, its belly no doubt empty, and all because of a human obsessed with ridding the highway of litter.  The raven will sleep uneasily this autumn night as its roost threatens to upend the bird with each gust.

Tonight the wind blows and the rain lashes at the home of the human.  It is well fed, warm and comfortable, safely harbored from the screaming wind and lashing rain.  Yet, all is not well in the home of the human.   It is haunted by thoughts of the raven, feels remorse for robbing it of its dinner, and wishes it could turn back time to move the sauce containers to an inconspicuous place.

In one of these bags is a raven's dinner.


  1. I would comfort you by reminding you that there should be plenty of other things out there for the raven to eat. He probably wasn't starving. I commend you from taking the sauce; you prevented him from a tummy ache caused by taking it an unnatural food. I also commend you for your compassion towards animals of all kinds.

  2. Like Shaddy says, nature provided things for the ravens to eat long before McDonalds provided packaged sweet sauce and litterers scattered their debris anywhere and everywhere. Also, he might have swallowed or tried to swallow the plastic envelope...not good for ravens! I commend you both for your stewardship in helping to cleanse our planet (at least a portion of the Seward and Sterling Highways) and for your compassion towards the birds and animals. Cap and I experienced someone coming upon what we think was a baby squirrel, abandoned, looking sick, and they just set it carefully under a bush. Ever since then we have been lamenting that we should have at least taken it into the truck with us, cuddled it into a towel so that it could get warm, and maybe it would have had a chance to pass on more peacefully and comfortably. Sigh. Thank you for caring for Alaska...the land and its creatures. Love, Patti and Cap

  3. I am kind of in your corner on this Gullible .. thinking to myself on your behalf .. "Why didn't I just empty the containers of their food contents so the bird could have its feast and the containers disposed of." Shaddy these birds could eat rocks and survive with no tummy aches.