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Gravel Hungry Point Trail: Red bench

Location #6

Location #6



From a seat on this wood bench, spend some time observing the edge between the wooded area and open muskeg in front of you. One of three local members of the highly-intelligent corvid family - a Stellar’s jay, Northwestern crow or Common raven – may appear. Like all corvids, the beautiful blue Stellar’s jay makes a wide variety of sounds, including a screechy scolding call. They seem to take special pleasure in giving away the presence of even the stealthiest human hunter. Raven plays a central role in Tlingit storytelling and is a constant companion in the life of most Alaska residents. If you see them side-by-side, it’s easy to differentiate between the smaller Northwestern Crow, with a wingspan of about 16 inches, and the larger Common Raven, with a 24-inch wingspan. If you don’t have a good size comparison, look at the bill; the crows’ bill will be slender and more sharply pointed, while Raven’s is thicker, particularly toward the top. As they take flight, look at the shape of their tail. This can also help differentiate between the two species: Raven’s tail spreads out like a fan or wedge, while the crow’s tail grows straight and stops in an even line at the ends. Raven and crows can also make an amazing array of sounds. Raven’s drip-like call echoes beautifully through the rainforest on misty days - and most people have been fooled at least once by the crows’ cat impersonations. For more information on birding in Petersburg, check out Audubon’s Southeast Alaska Birding Trails.


Bird Omens

There’s Raven, of course
quoting darkly outside our door
and the murder of crows;
we all know what they portend.
But what about the doves,
mourning in pairs on the power lines?
or the brown thrasher -
sowing chaos as he rummages the garden?
Does a chickadee hopping in for a seed
mean a day of action,
or a song sparrow whistling us awake
promise our sweetie will call?
I am certain the hawk high overhead
is showing me the way home,
though I’m not yet ready to follow;

But this quiet morning
the lilt of the thrush
and the timpani of the hooter
might mean nothing at all.

Directions to next location

Continue walking along the raised boardwalk until you meet a gravel path. For this tour, turn to your left toward the more developed ballfield. (If you have some extra time, you can explore down the path to the right for a bit. If you haven’t yet found a sundew, you might find one along this path, as well as other muskeg plants, lichen dripping from the trees, and maybe some small birds in the more wooded areas.)

When you reach the developed area, turn right onto the gravel path that skirts along the fence of the first ballfield. Always stay to the right as you walk around two ballfields and eventually down the hill toward Eighth Street.

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