It all started spiraling down with this crazy unseasonably cold weather. Terrible winds for a few days, cold… and then the cold rains came (and snow down to the foothills of the Owyhee mountains!)
Friday night it rained heavily.
Saturday morning I saw Aida sitting on a branch near the nest. Edgar flew up onto the edge of the nest with food…. and NO BABY MOUTHS SHOT UP FROM THE NEST. Oh no! Edgar just stood on the edge of the nest looking into it. Then he flew off.
Throughout the day Aida brooded continuously on the nest and spent much time rearranging things in the nest, moving nesting material as if to dry out. Edgar fed her on the nest several times. Only around noon did I see one baby poke its head up for food, but it seemed weak.
Several more cold rainstorms blew through during the day. Either Edgar or Aida continuously brooded the nest and appeared to be busy inside it (fluffing things up? drying things out? trying to resuscitate babies?). Near 6 PM Edgar was away; Aida briefly took off from the nest and returned shortly with food; one open mouth reached up and she fed it, then she settled back down on the nest.
At nightfall, Edgar bedded down on a branch right next to Aida on the nest, something he hasn’t done for some time.
10:40 PM: a terrific Raven Ruckus got me up and out of bed, Edgar and Aida caterwauling about something, on and on, caw caw caw. I trekked to the nest tree with binoculars and with a slight moon could hear her on the nest and see him on a branch, facing upstream. Between their hollering I could hear a great horned owl female up the creek; were they attacked by an owl? (About 2 weeks ago both Ravens shot off the nest in the evening and made a beeline for a great horned owl sitting on a distant ridge, with Aida giving off her alarm calls.)
The Ravens quieted down and I went back inside, and again at 11:30 another terrific Raven Ruckus. It was 41* and rained again during the night.
This morning: nest is abandoned.
I walked around the bottom of the nest and saw nothing (it’s very brushy so unlikely I’d see anything anyway).
As I was walking back… there was Edgar, sitting on a log on the ground. “Well, hi Edgar, are you OK? What happened last night!?”
I pulled up a seat on the ground 20 feet from him and talked, while he looked at me, stretched, shook his feathers and contemplated life. After a while, he flew up into his nest tree (but not the nest), and Aida also flew up to the tree (but not the nest).
I fetched some dog food and set it out; Edgar flew down to it while Aida hollered in the tree (not the nest); then she joined him on the ground, and I could hear her excited “Feed me!” voice.
I think it’s too late for them to try nesting again, other Raven nests have fledged by now. Do Ravens mourn? There are stories of Corvid funerals. Are Edgar and Aida mourning their 4 lost babies? I’m pretty sure they know I feel sad for them.
Will they stick around, now that they have no commitments here?
top pic: Aida looking into unresponsive nest
the weather that started the calamity
Sitting on the ground and talking with Edgar this morning