Northern Intelligence

Quote the Raven… Never more

One thing you have to get used to when you live in Yellowknife is the wildlife population. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where you can be walking down the street and see a fox run out in front of you. Or hear the coyotes yipping when you take the garbage out. This summer when the weather had warmed up, the bugs made their appearance and they were monster-sized. I’m certain that if the mosquitoes had banded together they could have carried me away!

When it comes to this city, the animals own the joint; you’re just renting. And the ravens are our landlords.

We’ve never had much luck with fowl. When we lived in Halifax, I stopped going to the Public Gardens because I was attacked by a mallard once over a Subway sandwich. (I won, but barely.) When we lived in Borden, my husband was dive-bombed by a blue-jay. To this day, I don’t mention them around him. And when we were posted to Trenton, I once had to chase an entire flock of ducks out of the fitness center I worked at. A word of caution: running at them, waving your hands and yelling, “Out! Out! Out!” will work, but you’ll have “some” clean-up after.

But the battle of the birds has reached new heights since moving North. I’ve never really put much stock in the writings of Edgar Allen Poe before, but now I’m sure that if there was ever a bird to drive a person insane, it would definitely be the raven.

It all started with the power outages. Apparently, ravens here love to rip rubber off the power lines (or your car’s windshield wipers, if you’re not careful) and sometimes they actually end up knocking out the power in the entire city. Which would be fine…if the little buggers weren’t so cocky about it.

But they are.

For one thing, they love to torment my dogs. Because dogs can sense evil, they have hated the ravens ever since they first laid eyes on them. So, of course, those birds have nothing better to do than fly over our yard whenever the boys are outside and taunt them with their cawing. The only thing worse than hearing two dogs bark their heads off has got to be listening to the ravens doing that weird whistle-cluck the whole time, too. Those annoying birds have even taken to sitting on our deck, right in front of the window, and then strutting back and forth while our dogs attempt to tunnel their way through glass.

My husband even caught one raven pecking at the roof of our shed. Now, every time we see them in or around the backyard, we run outside to drive them off. I’m not sure how it happened, but these birds are slowly turning me into an elderly, East European caricature. Whenever I hear that shrill little war-cry, all I want to do is don a handkerchief and rush at them, shaking a rolling pin.
(By the way, our neighbors love us)

We thought we had finally made some headway with these birds when a few days passed and we hadn’t seen a single raven. “Ha!” bragged my husband, “You see that? They know not to come around here anymore. They probably told their friends!” And it was such a nice weekend that we decided to put the soft top on the Jeep. Because a military move is the most organized thing you can do, we couldn’t find all the hardware needed to finish the job, so the Jeep sat out all night with no roof. We weren’t worried though; it hardly ever rains here.

Of course, when we got up the next morning, there was bird crap all over the seats.

Ben says it was probably a seagull that did it, but the ravens have since come back. And they’re looking mighty cocky…again.

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