Ravens are beautiful birds and I love to watch them fly. The piglets and chickens do not. For them the big black birds are a threat. This morning Kita was doing something rather interesting. I’m not sure how much of it was on purpose or how much she was simply taking advantage of the situation.
Kita took some meat that I gave her up to the corner of the south home field above the sow garden level. Instead of eating it all she left a little as well as bloody snow behind. She then moved off a distance and settled down to watch the spot. Three ravens came by and roosted in a big maple tree along the stone wall bordering the field. They were eyeing Kita’s treat.
Realize that when the dogs hold still they vanish into the landscape looking just like one more rock or bump in the snow. Their markings are very effective camouflage at breaking up their outlines. After a while the falling snow actually had covered her unmoving form with about 1/4″. Bird brains are specialized at detecting movement so the motionlessness of the dogs makes it even more pronounced for the ravens – to them Kita vanished.
Holly had warned me about the ravens and I had not realized that Kita was on top of the situation so I went out to scare the birds off. I was worried about them picking off piglets or chickens. After I got out back one of the ravens swooped down toward the snow – all of a sudden I saw Kita rush forward in a flurry of snow and motion. She leaped and missed the raven, but not by much. After that all three big black birds left with raucous caws looking for a safer place to hunt without being hunted. Kita’s job was done for the moment and she curled up in a ball on the hill where she could see everything.
I later went up and saw the trap she had set for them. What makes this so interesting is that her using bait is a bit more advanced of a hunting technique than I had anticipated a dog would use. Was it accidental and if so why was she crouched in hunting pose the whole time she was waiting. I’ve seen the dogs use complex team work to hunt small game in the fields but she was working alone and using bait to draw in her arial prey within striking distance. I wonder if wild canids use this technique.
So now the questions are: Will Kita use the trap again and will the ravens fall for the same trick twice?
13°F/-4°F, 3″ Light snow flurries, Overcast