Redrockwriting's Blog

November 16, 2013

The Un-Common Raven: one smart bird

Filed under: The Uncommon Raven — redrockwriting @ 5:16 pm

2 SF Peaks s UCRcoverIf you are a raven lover and like this site, please visit my newest site at There is more of everything about these clever birds, more facts and photos. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Update on Shade

Filed under: Shade; a Story About a Very Smart Raven — redrockwriting @ 4:58 pm

Update on Shade

Shade was a big draw at the local wild bird store. Emily gave a fact-filled talk while Shade looked on. Here, while Emily tries to sign a copy of the book about Shade, “Shade; a story about a very smart raven,” Shade is trying to steal the pen from her hand. Clever bird!

August 12, 2012

The Un-Common Raven

Filed under: The Uncommon Raven — redrockwriting @ 12:03 pm

I am still working on getting this book published. I have changed the title to “The Un-Common Raven: one smart bird.” I had to add the hyphen because the book is basically about the Common Raven, the most successful of raven species in North America. They live predominantly in the West in the U.S, but are making a comeback in the East and South again. I was really excited that John Marzluff, a well-known professor at U. of Washington and author of three raven books himself, agreed to review the copy and made some helpful changes to insure accuracy of the contents. Professor Marzluff conducted the now famous experiment of crows on the school campus:
“For his study about crow fledgings, Marzluff and his students put GPS trackers on them in order to follow their whereabouts on campus. The mother and father crows yelled loudly at them, and even flew at them. Eventually, the crows recognized their faces. As they walked around campus, the crow parents would dive down at the students, cawing excitedly. They soon couldn’t walk on campus without attracting these angry birds. Once Marzluff and his students wore masks over their faces to hide their identity, the birds no longer bothered them.”
This kind of thinking has earned this species a place as one of the smartest animals in the world, after humans and chimpanzees. If you want more raven facts, my book will be out before year’s end (I hope).

Common Ravens call the Grand Canyon home. They entertain visitors with their aerial antics and begging for food (they’ll eat anything).

Here’s a successful hunter at the Canyon (he begged some nuts from the author).

March 11, 2011

Soaring Ravens

Filed under: Soar like a raven — redrockwriting @ 12:19 pm

This beautiful photo of two ravens soaring with a shadow reflected on the red rocks was taken by my friend Loren Haury, a professional photographer. He is a fellow raven lover and has searched raven haunts to obtian this photo and others you can find at You can view his collection of raven photos as well as other breath-taking nature shots. Thank you for sharing, Loren.

Two playful ravens among the red rocks of Sedona

April 3, 2010

If you’ve read the book, I thought you might want to see the real Shade and Emily, so I located these photos.

Filed under: Shade; a Story About a Very Smart Raven — redrockwriting @ 9:35 pm

Emily and Shade

Here' Shade in her flight cage

March 11, 2010

Isn’t this book design beautiful? I hired graphic designer Jane Perini to marry the copy and illustrations. And what a beautiful result! For the writers who may follow this blog, using a professional designer was so important to the final result, as well as painter Cyndi Thau, who did the illustrations in pen and ink. It was printed by a firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan that specializes in printing books of all kinds. I was impressed with their expertise in spanning the gutters on the two-page spreads with the illustrations and color blocks. It all worked! Now I’m busy marketing my book both locally and to national and state parks. I had pegged my niche accurately, as the book is proving to be popular at these locations for their gift shops that cater to tourists. It’s pretty exciting!

Filed under: Uncategorized — redrockwriting @ 4:55 pm

Well, you probably realize I’m a raven lover, but not only because of the ones I see in the backyard. I have a young friend, Emily, who based her graduate work at University of Arizona on raven behavior. She actually bought a raven fledgeling (you have to buy birds from breeders as they are protected species), and wrote her thesis on the premise that ravens could be trained to help search and rescue teams find hikers lost in the High Country desert. Sorta like a rescue dog, but with wings! While Shade has not rescued her first person yet, Emily has trained her to recognize many words and shapes, and to wear a harness for the time when she will fly free to be tracked by a GPS device. I was so inspired with her work that I decided to write a children’s story about it. I’ve self-published this picture book as Shade; a Story About a Very Smart Raven.

Filed under: Shade; a Story About a Very Smart Raven — redrockwriting @ 4:52 pm

Here's my book for sale in a local bookstore

Here in Sedona, we can see the ravens swoop and soar through the sky, often in pairs. Ravens mate for life and produce young in the early Spring. Both mom and dad take care of the babies, bringing food to the nest. Whether mates or not, ravens have been seen to “help” one another in the search for food, and share in the spoils, which in the wild can be “road kill,” but in town can be a Colonel Sanders special.

Filed under: Soar like a raven — redrockwriting @ 4:47 pm

Here's some Raven fledgelings I painted

Ravens have excellent eyesight. They can fly upwards of 30-35 mph, ranging 30-40 miles from their nest during the day. Even more important, these birds are smart. They are considered one of the smartest birds in the world, after parrots. They are excellent problem solvers, and have been known to employ tools, i.e., sticks, stones, etc., to get what they want. A researcher back East set up an experiment with ravens to see if they could obtain some food from a machine he set up that dispensed food when a coin was inserted. It wasn’t long before the raven caught on and put the coin in the machine! Some smart bird!

Filed under: Uncategorized — redrockwriting @ 4:32 pm

This pair has mated for life (at Bryce Canyon)

And they are beautiful birds, black as night—feathers, eyes, beak, feet. In the brightness of sunlight, their feathers can glitter iridescent blue.

Filed under: Soar like a raven — redrockwriting @ 4:18 pm

Here's one after a cactus fruit treat

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