The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘ravens’

Caching in on the Hide & Seek Movement

I’ve noticed a lot of my pals have been writing about hide & seek and Easter Bunnies hiding eggs and chocolate the last few days. Well, I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks here on the Campbell Estate and I’ve missed out on all that fun.

The Estate was invaded by those bad boys, the Wiley Wolf Pack.

Before you read further, Elizabeth says this post has some gruesome elements, so read on with discretion!

Those Wiley guys really keep me busy. I don’t like having them around. They haven’t got much respect, and I’m afraid that they might move in on my two-leggers one day when I’m busy somewhere else. They aren’t very friendly, if you get my drift….

And they’re always leaving messes for me to clean up.

Actually, that’s only a half complaint. I kind of don’t mind cleaning up their messes. But their messes have a less savoury aspect… they attract a lot of characters I would also rather not have around: big white-headed black flappers, croaking black flappers and cawing black flappers now that they’re back.They’re noisy, noisy, noisy, and they do their business wherever they happen to be, without any regard for anyone who happens to be in the way, gravitationally speaking.

Black flappers are really hard to chase away. They work in teams. I’ll be busy cleaning up the mess the Wiley Wolves have left, and one of those scoundrel flappers will hop up behind me and pull a bone away. And while I chase that flapper off, three or four more will move in and steal anything they can dig their beaks and talons into. They will carry it off and dump it somewhere else when they’ve finished with it, leaving me with even more cleaning up to do than the Wiley Wolves left, and with less meat to pick at by then, too!

So, the Wiley Boys killed a Sneaky Deer at the end of our bay. They ate what they wanted, then moved on, leaving the carcass right there on the ice! My two-leggers draw their drinking water from very near the spot, so it was imperative that I get the area completely sanitized.

Eventually, I decided I was wasting my time chasing the flappers. I worked harder at dismembering the remains and carrying them off to my own hiding places, where I could enjoy them at my leisure. Wild meat is always better if it hangs a little, you know….

It took several trips, but I’m better equipped to move large portions than the flappers, so I did pretty well.

This was all I could find of my deer head trophy. Now this is gone, too....

This was all I could find of my deer head trophy. Now this is gone, too….

First the head, which I hid in the woodshed. I think. I may be wrong, ’cause I can’t find it in there now. Then I removed the legs one at a time. For some reason, I can only find two of them now. And I’m not telling where I put them. I think You Know Who is finding them and taking them away to a place I won’t find them [Scribal interjection: Who, me?]. I know she got the spine, hips and ribs, which I was able to get up all in one piece in my last trip through the woods. That was hard work. I was so tired after that one that I just tucked that piece under the front of Kay’s Growly Beast until I’d rested a bit. When I went back for it, You Know Who’s scent was all over the area and I couldn’t find my prize anywhere!

I even got some meltwater to sluice down and give the area a wash. Pretty thorough, eh?

I even got some meltwater to sluice down and give the area a wash. Pretty thorough, eh?

Oh, well. I enjoyed what I was able to glean. And I think you’ll agree when I show you a picture of how the kill site looks now (Elizabeth says it wouldn’t be nice to show the before scene; she wouldn’t take a picture for me.  -:o/=  Whose blog is this, anyway?).

The Inspector found this, but I think she's pulling hairs, don't you?

The Inspector found this, but I think she’s splitting hairs, don’t you?

Whisky Jack

We had our first night when the damp in the air turns hard and coats the growling machine we travel in and some of the greenery.

I wasn’t the only one to notice. Elizabeth actually knew it was going to happen before it did, and she spent the evening before putting two-legger fur over the growing places to keep the stuff the two-leggers eat warm. By morning, though, others had noticed, too. I’m thinking particularly of some free-loading friends of Elizabeth’s, who always seem to come around – especially when it gets a bit chilly in the morning. There are several of them, but Elizabeth has the same name she uses for all of them: Whisky Jack.

The Whisky Jacks are medium sized flappers – a bunch of very friendly jokers who never seem to take life seriously. They really like Elizabeth a lot. We’ll be out in the middle of the woods on her trails in the deep of winter, and a Whisky Jack will fall out of the trees and land on a branch right beside her for a chat. Elizabeth will put out her hand and one will come and sit on it. No other flappers seem to do this so readily as Whisky Jacks. And even though there are only three or four that hang out at the two-legger house regularly, they all seem to know Elizabeth for miles around.

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Elizabeth says that, although they seem like clowns, Whisky Jacks are actually very intelligent members of a bigger family called Corvids, which includes some other very annoying larger black flappers Elizabeth calls Crows and Ravens. “I think God put Whisky Jacks here to put smiles on people’s faces. You can’t have an encounter with a Whisky Jack and not come away smiling.” She also says that recent research she heard about – research is something two-leggers do to keep busy – scientists (two-leggers who spend nearly all their time researching) have discovered that Jays (some other two-leggers call Whisky Jacks Gray or Canada Jays) and other Corvids learn to tell two-leggers apart, and teach their youngsters and neighbours which ones are good friends and which ones are dangerous. Maybe that’s why they all like her.

They have a different effect on me. They get my nose twitching. Everytime they come around, and everytime Elizabeth puts her hand out for them to land on, I could swear I smell breakfast. Then one day last week, I discovered exactly why that is. Kay went out and was calling the Whisky Jacks, but they weren’t coming for her the way they do for Elizabeth. She couldn’t wait for them and went back inside. I started to follow her down the walkway, when I smelled something good. On every upright piece of wood along the walkway, Kay had put something tasty for the flappers.

I have trouble understanding why Kay would do this when she has me around. It’s not like I’m unappreciative of treats like these. Why waste them on a bunch of free-loading flappers? I walked on the grass side of the walkway and considered the situation. Then I got back up onto the walkway. I gave a little jump and got my paws up on the railing just below the top. I could just get my nose to the treats, but not my mouth. So, I pushed them off the uprights with my nose, got back on all fours and ran around to the grassy side to pick them up and eat them. I continued almost all the way down to the end of the walkway.

I left the last two for the Whisky Jacks.

I didn’t always used to like them at all. Elizabeth’s my two-legger, not theirs, and often when I saw them, I’d bark and chase them off. They’d flap up to the top of the fence around Elizabeth’s growing place and stare at me, sometimes make a noise back at me. It was almost as if they were quietly laughing at me! But Elizabeth really is fond of them, and they don’t seem to do her any harm. So I tolerate them now. And sometimes, when they fly in low, land on the top of the post that lights up at night… and slide off, even I can’t help but smile a little.

Eye on the Sky

Did you know that not all danger is limited to ground level? It’s true. That’s why I like to keep an eye on the sky, too.

My first memory of things that fly is from the days of my puppy walks, just after Elizabeth brought me to Keewatin. We went for walks along the wide gravel road, and one day, I remember seeing – and hearing! – a lot of big black flying creatures flapping around and sitting in the trees on one side of the road. There were all black ones that croaked and gronked, and there were much bigger ones with white heads that made loud chee-chee-chee noises. They would fly up to the tall whispery trees [trembling aspens] from across a little inlet and back. I could smell something interesting on the breeze. It seemed to be what they were interested in, too.

I was just little then, and the big black flying creatures made me a bit nervous. I wasn’t too scared, ’cause my two-legger was with me. But I wouldn’t want to be alone with one of those big white headed ones! It fascinated me, though, how they stayed up in the air like that….

Winter came, and I remember chasing the all black flying creatures’ shadows across the white snow. They moved fast, and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up – or at least close!

In the spring, two of the big white heads started hanging around. They talked to each other a lot, and sometimes I saw them with long sticks in their yellow, pointy mouths. I liked watching them. I thought, Anyone who can carry long sticks like that AND stay up in the air at the same time demands a little respect!

I like sticks a lot, too. But if I pick up long ones like that and try to take them anywhere, they seem to get tangled up in bushes I pass along the way. Those flying creatures… they’ve got the right idea!

I was watching one – no stick this time – from one of my favourite rocks one spring day as Elizabeth puttered around digging the ground up. It flew around in a circle, high up, hardly flapping its flappers at all. Fascinating! Then all of a sudden, I noticed it was getting awfully close to me awfully fast! It was diving straight at me!

“WOOF!” I warned it. Look out, you flapping creature! You’re going to crash right into me!

I’d warned it nicely, but it wouldn’t listen to me; it kept coming. So, I did the only thing I could do. I taught it a lesson!

I leapt straight up at it. I didn’t say anything – no time for words – but my look told it everything it needed to know: BACK OFF!

And it did. Its flappers spread out and it stopped in mid-air. I felt the wind as it flapped once, twice, and then flew away.

I came back to tell Elizabeth about my adventure. But she’d seen it all happen, and she seemed pretty impressed with me. She gave me a big hug and a scratch behind my ear.

And those white heads? They don’t mess with me anymore!


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