A few of you have emailed me asking if Bran (pronounced "Brawn") is still around. Yes, he is! Almost every day I see him, even on the days we're socked in with snow. On bad weather days he will "caw" at me from one of the large pines across the street. As unbelievable as it sounds I have learned his voice from all other ravens in this area.
Once and a while he'll bring the Mrs. and even the kids around to visit. This fall it was almost as if he were conducting formal introductions - bringing each of his two offspring, one at a time, close to where I was working. He then would utter phrases, first to me, then to them. These were phrases I had never heard him use before and he's only used them in the presence of his offspring. And we think we're so smart...
The pictures here were taken late this fall, before the snows came. If I don't have a mouse I've caught overnight in the barn, I leave a couple of cookies for Bran or something I've brought from the house - maybe a piece of apple (not his favorite), a hot dog leftover from dinner, or maybe a bit of cheese. He'll say thank you, then pick the item up and fly off to eat it or bury it. Yes, ravens bury caches of food to eat when there is nothing else available. I keep trying to tell him the cookies will dissolve but he doesn't listen. He'll just bury them if he's full. I wonder how many eggs my neighbors' horses have stepped on over the past couple of years...ripe eggs, at that. :)
Just a few days ago, I placed a frozen mouse that had been caught in the barn out on the post for Bran to pick up. It was solid as a rock. I couldn't help wondering if poor Bran could forgive me for giving him mouse-cicles. Soon he showed up, chattering away at me about some big event that must've happened overnight as I did the morning's chores around the barn. Then he went to the post, picked up the mouse and flew over to where there was flowing water in the stream. What I saw next astounded me: Bran took the frozen mouse and dunked it up and down in the water until I saw the mouse become limp again. He defrosted it! When it was thawed to his perfection, down the mouse went, head first. I stood there, dumbfounded. What an intelligent creature he is! Absolutely remarkable.