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Ravens Nesting on a Railroad Bridge

H. C. Johnson
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
1
Issue: 
4 (July-August)
Section: 
Echoes from the Field
Year: 
1899
Pages: 
71-72
AttachmentSize
PDF icon p0071-p0072.pdf183.3 KB

Ravens Nesting on a Railroad Bridge.

On April 10th last a sheep-herder brought me a set of three eggs of the American Raven, and on questioning him concerning the nest I learned they were taken from a nest beneath a railroad bridge. This seemed odd, to say the least, as I know of several of their nests on inaccessible cliffs, the birds seeming to intuitively know that man is their enemy. Recently I visited the locality from which the eggs came to verify the truthfulness of the collector's description and to secure the remaining eggs of the set if they had been laid. We travelled some twelve miles of sage desert and came in sight of the bridge under which the alleged nest was situated. It was apparent that the ravens had selected the bridge for the reason that it was the best place in the district. There were no cliffs within perhaps twenty miles, and as feed was plentiful the ravens had concluded to use the bridge for a nesting site. I found the nest in a confused heap on the ground and two broken eggs near by, the nest having probably been pushed from the trestle by the section men. It had been placed on an upper beam of the bridge and the eggs could not have been more than two feet from the rails. The distance from the ground was about thirty feet. The nest was composed outwardly of coarse sticks, some of them two feet in length. Inside was a snug lining of about five pounds of wool, mixed with soft cedar bark. Many sheep graze on the deserts in winter and the wool was easily obtained. The railroad is used by four trains daily between Lehi Junction and the Tintic mining region and is a branch of the Union Pacific Railway.

H. C. JOHNSON

American Fork, Utah.

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