The Yukon bird since 1985, the ubiquitous raven arrives out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly. It all depends on the food supply. They are a very social bird, often seen in pairs, but also in great mobs especially in winter on a food source.
Scientific testing has proven these are very intelligent creatures and they do seem to plan out some of their chicanery. As an example, watch how two ravens empty the chained dog’s food dish. One bird makes all kinds of sounds and lands just beyond the reach of the dog on the now fully extended chain.
This bird dances and squawks, keeping the dog busy, while the other bird eats from the food dish. The birds then trade places and the second birds gets to eat. Another indicator of raven savvy is the attack on the jumbo bag of dog or cat food, sitting unprotected in the back of a pickup truck. You won’t see them tearing into a 12-pack of toilet tissue because they know the difference. Nothing is safe in a black plastic garbage bag, at least until the birds have torn it open to see if the contents meet raven standards for edibility.
They are usually very wary of humans, but will group just outside your vehicle window if you are passing out food samples or the end of a sandwich. If you stay in your vehicle they can be coaxed to land on your hood or mirror and take food from your hand. In winter I usually carry some dog or cat kibble in a Tupperware container to throw out into the parking lots of big box stores. A crowd soon gathers and they can be brought nearer by throwing the kibble closer to the truck.
Ravens are often around our cabin. One day I watched a raven land directly under a plastic milk jug bird feeder. The bird paused only a second and then flew up into the bottom of the suspended milk jug, spilling the sunflower seeds on the ground where they could be eaten.
Just a few weeks ago at the cabin, I noticed a solo raven busily pecking away at the ground at the front of my vehicle, about 30 or 40 metres from me. Off and on over the next hour or so I noticed the bird was still busy at the same spot. A while later, I went to close the vehicle windows as rain was threatening. There on the driver’s seat were two different size Ziploc bags with long slashes through the flat sides. The bags were empty except for a few crumbs and I quickly realized that these had been my snack bags, full of at least seven Clif bars and numerous granola-type bars. These full bags had been stuffed in under my driver’s seat. The bird would have had to land on my window sill, hop onto the seat, crawl into the tight space under the steering wheel, locate and retrieve both bags, then exit the same route it used to enter.
The bird had likely done this before and the experience was educational for me.