Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Common Raven (Grand Corbeau) Breeding in Waterloo County

30 May 2015
Schummer Line
Linwood, ON

     I am indebted to my good friend Jim Burrell for advising me of the location of a nest of Common Raven Corvus corax in Waterloo County. This is the southernmost nest I have ever witnessed in the Province of Ontario, and it appears that this species is recolonizing its former range, from which it had been extirpated. Jim was also aware of a second successful breeding attempt in nearby Wellington County, at Glen Allan.
     The nest that Miriam and I visited was on the silo of a farm at 5434 Schummer Line, deep in the heart of Mennonite country.

     Initially we parked on the side of the road (easy to do, a relatively quiet rural road) and started to observe and take pictures from there. Then the owner of the farm, who was cutting his grass, came out to talk to us and invited us to drive into the farm and park much closer so that we would be able to get better pictures.
     This very gracious, kind man is Norm Kuepfer, a spry eighty-six year old.

     I told him that I would be blogging about these birds and sought his consent to publish images of both him and his farm, to which he readily agreed. Norm does not have a computer, but has a son who does, so he will be able to see this report on the remarkable success that occurred on his silo.
     There were three young birds in the nest, very obviously ready to fledge. The parents would wheel by them, causing the young birds to become agitated and beg for food, but none was delivered. I am sure that the adults were attempting to coax their offspring from the nest.

      And it didn't take long! Jim called me yesterday to let me know that the three young birds had vacated the nest.
      May they live long and prosper.
      Thank you Jim, and thank you Norm, for allowing us to take part in this truly remarkable event; perhaps the most significant birding adventure of the year.


  1. What a beautiful series, David.
    All credits for mr Kuepfer who made this possible.
    Did you climbed the ladder or could you use a zoom lens?
    Gr Jan W

    1. Hi Jan: my ladder climbing days are over I think. We used our zoom.

  2. Great series on the Raven. I hope they do well. Enjoy your day!

  3. What a good sport Norm is. Great photos of the ravens! My sister-in-law spotted one in Guelph.

  4. Bonsoir cher ami,

    Incroyable !! Vous avez eu la chance de capturer avec votre objectif cette couvée !... Une sacrée escalade !
    Merci pour le partage de cette belle expérience.

    💜Gros bisous ☼

  5. Didn't really know how far south they nested. We cat inlay hear and see them regularly around here, though crows are more plentiful.

  6. Hello David,
    Beautiful series about the Ravens.
    Great that you off the farmer might come closer.
    Best regards, Irma

  7. A heartwarming story, David. What a lovely man Norm is.

    Best wishes - - - Richard

  8. Fantastic people, David. You made a wonderful series and the story is great to read. Greetings, Joke

  9. Hi David. With a guy named Norm you can't really go wrong can you? That's a mighty fine mower he has too so maybe he'd let you take it for a spin in your back yard.

    Is it coincidence that your Ravens are spreading south and moving into agricultural situations much like UK ones? Our UK Ravens now use high trees in the countryside as well as their traditional crags and mountain homes. it's not all good news as they take their toll of ground nesting waders like Lapwings.

  10. Hi David,
    very nice that your friend told where was the nest of raven. So you could make beautiful pictures. The first three photos are also very beautiful :-)

    Greetings, Helma

  11. These are becoming more widespread in the UK too, still rare in Japan though...............

  12. Hello David, just back from one week from France, Normandie. Reading your blog with this amazing bird. Ravens wow not so common to see. So kind of the farmer to give you this change to get closer for taking this pictures.

    1. Welcome home, Roos. Hope you had a great vacation.