Learning is Fun

Three ravens came down from the ramada today.  One takes to drinking water from the bird bowl. The others pick and pull at cardboard, straw, bread scraps in the yard.  They peck at loose material with their beaks, feeling their way through the world, learning about different materials. 

We learn through play and exploration.  We take flight, not because it’s time to feed ourselves and wing flapping will help us do so.  Sometimes we fly out of fear like Poe did yesterday.  But mostly we take flight just because it’s fun.  We learn through play.  We also learn from our peers.    One raven left up top, calls out yet to the others, afraid to make the leap.  Their presence down below goads him. I can’t help but think that they’re also observing the other birds and picking up something of how to fly.  Self-feeding is learned behavior.  I wonder too about flying. In the absence of true parents, how quickly will they learn what to do?

They will be left to learn only through play.  Feral, without society and species context, what new world will they discover and invent?

Self Feeding © Kerry Hardy



First Flight

© Kerry Hardy

Raven Heir © Kerry Hardy

Richard from the radio station and Tony Dukepoo over to see the birds.  We see Poe in the distance walking out in the desert.  We approach him, and though he’s fine with me alone, the three large mammals unnerve him.  He struts away quickly, stretches his wings and soars low over the scrub and then high into the air, alighting on the neighbor’s house.  He did it.  His body knew exactly what to do. 

The next day the hospital pair and the wash pair appear to circle above the ramada.  But no!  It more likely seems to be the adolescents, the four children of the wash pair, flying and exploring.  They soar at a distance, mount on the light posts, and look this way.  They call out to our young ones. who fail to respond.


On Saturday afternoon the winds pick up.  The four wash fledgelings fly confidently now.  They circle above, leaving our ravens look out at them.  I wonder if they feel longing or curiosity.  I fear they may not see themselves as like those birds that can take to the air.

Later the parents sit right outside the fence.  When I step outside, they quickly take loft and circle over the young ones, calling.  Take flight, they seem to say.  Please take flight.

The next day at dawn, only two birds remain in the nest.  Poe and More are gone.  Later I find them atop a house across the street.  They watch me plant in the yard and weakly soar back, still learning to use those wings.  I reserve my greatest affection for Poe.  He stands apart, aloof or independent.  He doesn’t ask for much.  He leads the way, the first to explore and learn to use his beak.

I’m so proud of them all though. They’re so prehistoric.  They were dinosaurs once and the big rock hit and most of the other’s died, but these ones, they survived.  They figured it out. They are emissaries from the past, from that horrible day that took out most life on this planet.  But it did not take them.  Their ancestors took flight, and disappeared into and became one with that black smoky apocalyptic night.