Date: 5/22/18 5:10 pm
From: Michael Fialkovich <mpfial...>
Subject: Westmoreland County Predator/Prey Drama

I was walking at lunchtime and two co-workers got my attention and said they just witnessed a murder. They said that big crow took two eggs from a Killdeer nest. There are several Killdeer nests at my workplace and one is in a pile of rocks next to the road where I walk. I walk on the opposite side of the road so the bird won't be disturbed and as long as I do that, it will stay put.

I explained to them the large crow which was just a few yards away on the ground eating was actually a Common Raven. One of them said she thought it was really big for a crow. The raven flew off and another came circling over, probably looking to snatch the last egg in the nest (there was one remaining according to my co-workers). One of them recognized the Killdeer's broken wing act and said her dad taught her about that when she was a child so she knows what the bird was doing.

As I continued my walk, both ravens were perched on light poles some distance away. As I returned after making my loop, one bird was still on the light pole and another was flying over carrying something in its bill with a Common Grackle in hot pursuit, diving at the raven and chasing after it across the parking lot to the building. The Killdeer were in the area but had not returned to the nest at that point.

That was a first for me. I often see Killdeer with their chicks during the summer at work so it appears nests are often successful.

Mike Fialkovich
Pittsburgh Area, Allegheny County
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