Witnessing Nature’s Dark Side

The big ones making a meal out of the little ones

Josephine Crispin


Photo taken by the author at Walton Colliery Nature Park

Writing and creating short video clips about wildlife is one thing. For example, about birds of prey or raptors doing what they are known to do, that is, snatch a hatchling or a chick from its nest for dinner.

It is another to actually witness a bird, albeit only an honorary raptor, try to snatch its prey.

A raven is given this recognition, that of an honorary raptor. It is not a bird of prey like eagles, hawks, owls, kestrels, falcons, owls, you get the picture.

But ravens are adopted as an honorary raptor because of its ecological similarity with true raptors.

Crow vs Raven

Identifying a raven from a crow, or vice-versa, is not easy.

Left shows a raven; right top and bottom — you be the judge whether they are crows or ravens

Even if I have been studying, stalking, observing and filming crows, a few of which I suspected to be ravens, when walking in woodlands and nature reserves, differentiating a crow from a raven, or a raven from a crow, is still not easy.

But crows do not prey on small birds. Ravens do.

Recently, I witnessed an attempt by a young raven to snatch away a gosling in a nature reserve, by the lakeside.

No, I haven’t filmed the attempt even if I have my camera ready. I was too stunned. Frozen in shock. Too horrified at what this honorary raptor aimed to do.

Fortunately, the parents of the goslings — and there were several other Canada geese and ducks around — acted in lightning speed.

Father goose and mother goose were very close by, less than two meters, eating grass. They must have heard (I did not) a peep from the two goslings, and so the parent geese honked awfully loudly, running towards their brood.

The young raven quickly flew away — but did not actually leave the lake area. Arrogant, this raven.

The dark side

Female Canada geese usually have a clutch of five to six eggs in a single brood. Hence, seeing the two goslings —…



Josephine Crispin

Writes about writing, nature, animals, the environment, social issues and spirituality. Editor and published author of romance novellas amongst other genres.