måndag 16 september 2013


Sketching for the paper
Speaking of the playfulness of the ravens  - I've been going through some films to find representative snapshots for a paper on subadult raven play - and it really is hilarious!

Once this paper is submitted, we will start on another study on play - the earliest form taking place in the nest, when the chicks are only a few weeks old. We filmed Juno's and Siden's chicks in the nest this summer, and now it's time analyze the data. A quite time consuming job as it is done frame by frame, but since temperature is dropping and it is raining heavlily it might be quite nice anyway.


torsdag 12 september 2013


From my work at the Centre for Animal movement research at the Biology department in Lund, I have learnt about amazing aerial accomplishments in the bird world. For example, the great snipe that can make up to 6800 km nonstop flights when migrating, or the common swift that spends almost it's entire life on the wing - even eating and sleeping.
Ravens are no famous long distance migrants, but when it comes to flight acrobatics, they must be among the top birds. Maybe that is partly due to their playfulness - chasing each other with incredible speed, dropping items from high altitude and then rapidly dive to cach them again, or rolling and spinning in the sky. (See for example: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2774/4356856066_84943edf39.jpg or http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8091/8597127972_49315049a2_o.jpg)

Ten years ago, ravens were rarely seen in this area, but in recent years, the raven population in southern Sweden has increased, and now we have lots of wild raven visiting. Likely, our ravens attract some of them - especially the vagrants, young ravens who has not yet paired up. But for the last two yeas, a raven pair has breed no less than 600 metres from our aviaries, and during breeding season, we can hear the chicks beg for food and the adults communicating with each other and our ravens.

It is with mixed emotions we watch them fly over us, as it somehow stresses the limits and boundaries of our own aviaries. It is a comfort, though, that the ravens in our aviaries quite often fly themselves out of breath. Including the runway, the aviary complex streches about 35 metres, and while play chasing they just fly through the runway, makes a quick circle, and then back through the runway and into the next aviary. Or, they just bump into one of the big rafters with their feet - similar to a swimmer's turn  - and immediately fly off again.

It is a special experience, walking through the runway as one of the ravens are passing, just centimetres above you head.


onsdag 11 september 2013

Wary looks

You could tell by the wary look from Rickard, that it was long since I brought the camera to the aviary.
Siden was the first to get used to the camera, but Juno was still not convinced.
It didn't take Rickard too long either - my pockets and rubber boots were far too interesting.
Little Tosta, the boldest of the three young, immediatey flew off to a safe distance when I tried to take a picture of her going through my pockets...and again, notice the wary look.
Somehow it seemed a lot safer when I was on the same side as the ravens  - opposite of the camera.
...and after yet a few minutes, the camera was just one of those interesting objects that could be either eaten...or destroyed:)


måndag 2 september 2013

Autumn's first lab meeting!

Can, Ivo and Mathias
This Friday, we had our first lab meeting at the corvid research station. The two PhD students Ivo Jacobs from the Netherlands, Can Kabadayi from Turkey, Mathias and myself. Ivo started his postion in January and Can arrived from Ankara only last week and formally started yesterday. It's great to have them here, and we are looking forward to some great research coming from them soon!

We started off discussing this semester's work, studies, papers, courses and meetings....
...and then turned to the more physical side of running a research station. For example scrubbing away algea from the wood besides the aviaries. When wet, this green growth literally can break your back, so we had a go at getting rid of it. As you can see, quite back breaking as well, but not as acute as a slip.
Before dinner we did a short excursion to Vombsjön, which is only ten minutes by car from the station. Both Ivo and Can has been to Sweden before - taking courses at the Biology department - and thus knows a lot more bird species than we do:)