Hundreds of birds seem to mourn deaths of fellow ravens
FAIRBANKS � Ravens have feelings, too, at least judging from an eerie scene
Tuesday morning on Minnie Street in east Fairbanks.
After two ravens
roosting on top of a power transformer were electrocuted, hundreds of ravens
showed up within a minute or two and started silently circling overhead and
perching in nearby trees.
Rod Stephens, owner of Rod�s Saw Shop across
the street, saw the scene play out before his eyes after a man pulled into the
shop and reported seeing sparks flying on top of the transformer.
walked out there and there were all these birds just circling. There were ravens
in all the trees,� he said. �It was weird.�
Stephens estimated the number
of ravens at �a couple hundred.�
�It was like that movie, �The Birds,��
he said. �I walked out and wasn�t sure if they were going to start dive-bombing
One of the electrocuted ravens had fallen to the ground and the
other was still caught in the wires and transformer, Stephens said.
Brees, a computer technician at Geek City across the street from Stephens� shop,
was driving to work when he saw what he described as �a vortex of ravens
circling� next to the computer store.
�I could see them a half-mile
away,� Brees said. �It was a funnel of black birds. I pulled up to the building
right as they were circling.�
The birds only hung around for a few
minutes before flying off, Stephens said.
�They said their respects and
moved on,� he said.
There were no power outages reported as a result of
the birds being electrocuted, said Corinne Bradish, spokeswoman for Golden
Valley Electric Association.
It�s not uncommon for squirrels and birds to
get electrocuted while perching on or crossing electrical wires, power poles and
transformers, Bradish said. The company notifies the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service whenever ravens are killed, she said.
Travis Booms, the nongame
biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, wasn�t
surprised to hear ravens had been electrocuted. More ravens are probably
electrocuted in Fairbanks than people think, he said.
�They�re the same
size as a lot of raptors that we know get electrocuted on a regular basis, so it
wouldn�t surprise me at all if ravens get electrocuted on a pretty regular
basis,� he said.
The fact that incident attracted dozens of other ravens
to the scene intrigued Booms.
�I�ve never heard of ravens holding
funerals,� he said. �It wouldn�t surprise me if the birds that got zapped were
still alive and were acting erratically. That would attract the attention of