Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 64

Lock, Stock & Barrel The Shooters’ Corner By Jim Romanelli By Don Lewis The Raven I T WAS one of those mid-season, midweek, midday afternoon days on deer stand when the woods looked like a black-andwhite photograph — monochromatic and utterly still. No deer since daybreak, and not another hunter all day. It had been four hours since I’d seen a squirrel, and three hours since the last kinglet had flitted past. And then distraction arrived in a flurry of black wings and deep croaks. Two huge birds flapped slowly along the ridge top, just clearing the bare oaks — two ravens, playing in the wind. Twice as heavy as crows, with long, solid bills and wedge-shaped tails, they pulled up into the breeze, climbing stiffly to gain altitude, then began a series of spectacular dives, folding their wings and plummeting upside down, croaking rapidly, then flaring their wings and swooping upwards to do it all again. It was exhilarating to watch. A century ago that was a sight that few Pennsylvanians would have enjoyed. By the early 20th century, ravens were almost extinct in Penn’s Woods, restricted to the highest, loneliest mountains of a few central counties, a wilderness species with no wilderness left to inhabit. “It will be but a very few years before it follows the wild pigeon into the list of extinct Pennsylvania species,” lamented one ornithologist in 1922. “It is naturally a very shy species, and will not stand the encroachment of civilization.” In this, the raven was like a lot of other wilderness-loving species, including the bear and the turkey, which were pushed to the wall by logging, market hunting and development, driven to a few redoubts in the Big Woods country. But like those species, the raven has proven far more resilient than anyone would have predicted a century ago. By the 1940s, some biologists thought they detected a turnaround in the raven’s fortunes. By the time the first Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas began in the mid-1980s, birders found that ravens had reoccupied much of the northern ridge-and-valley region, the Allegheny High Plateau and the mountains of southcentral Pennsylvania, and were nesting in lesser numbers in the Poconos and along the Kittatinny Ridge. In the two decades since then, ravens have become more and more common in the state’s mountains, and beyond. Whether you’re hiking the Grand Canyon in Tioga County, taking in the view from Mount Davis in Somerset County or anywhere along the Appalachian Trail, you’re probably going to see and hear ravens. And we’re seeing them well beyond the mountains, too, as they show up more frequently in the southeastern and western counties. In addition to natural nest sites, such as cliffs and old raptor nests, ravens are using the walls of strip mines, highway cuts, football stadiums and even the scaffolding around industrial smokestacks, like a co-generation plant I know in Schuylkill County. As Pennsylvania’s second breeding bird atlas wrapped up this year, birders had reported ravens in twice as many of the state’s 850 survey blocks as they had in the 1980s. Like bears and turkeys, ravens have gone from a relic to a commonplace sight in much of the state — and if a little of that old wilderness glow is gone these days, I’m grateful for the entertainment, especially on a slow day on the deer stand. 64 GAME NEWS

Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008

Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008
Life & Times of the Whitetail
Contents
A Deer Season to Remember
10-Point
Blood and Dishonor
The Royal Straight Flush
2007-08 Small Game and Furbearer Harvests
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Annual Index
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Life & Times of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - A Deer Season to Remember
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 10-Point
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Blood and Dishonor
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - The Royal Straight Flush
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 2007-08 Small Game and Furbearer Harvests
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Annual Index
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2008 - Cover4
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