Samantha Raven injured her wing and has found refuge in the Marble Cemetery on East Second Street in the East Village, Manhattan. This was shot on Sunday and the wind chill was around 10 F.
I shot this with my new Lumix FZ35. It has an 18x zoom and shoots video in HD. I cropped the video to 720×480 to zoom in even further. I had the camera set a bit over-exposed but aside from that I’m happy with how much detail I was able to get.
Samantha’s tree is now bare of leaves, but she is still pretty good at avoiding giving a good shot to this paparazzo. I think she is able to hear my camera’s electronic clicks and beeps and she scoots as soon as I approach. But I am very happy to see that she is still living in the Marble Cemetery on Second Street. Click her tag below to learn more about this rescued raven.
I went to the New York City Marble Cemetery on East Second Street today during Open House New York, and got to see where Samantha Raven hangs. It is as I suspected, she is in the eastern portion, not visible from the street. Samantha was fairly tolerant, letting me get about ten feet from her. Being that close I could see that it is her right wing that is broken. I don’t think it is possible for her to stalk and kill a pigeon, as some have claimed, she is just not agile enough. Though, I have seen her scavenging a pigeon, already deceased.
I was not able to learn much about Samantha’s situation, other than that she is a rescue animal with a broken wing and that her name is Samantha, not Emily as I was earlier told. Also the raven may be from Wyoming and not Utah as I earlier reported, or maybe neither, not that it really matters.
Update: On my Flickr stream someone identifying themselves as Samantha’s Surgardaddy says: “her wing’s not broken…. rather, aggressive tendon strain that appears to be improving to a point, that after a year and a half of “rest,” she may soon be able to fly on from this block… She was brought from Jackson Hole, WY, mid-June ’08. She entered Marble Cemetery April ’09. Richard, the squirrel and pigeon feeder, is the singular individual claiming to have seen her actually kill a pigeon… on further questioning it appears that he had his back turned when she made the supposed “kill”…. The greater likelihood it that the carcass was dropped from above by a hawk finished with its “snack.” Yesterday, Samantha did recover the the sun-dried carcass of a squirrel that was left high in the trees….. I DID see this… my back was not turned…. The Common Raven likes its dinner dead… preferring someone else to do the work…. And, Yes… the red-tailed hawk, yesterday, was spectacular…. hanging in there for a good 2+ hours, despite throngs of high-speed dogs,…. and was, no doubt, considering “dropping” another pigeon so as to fuel further false indictment of Samantha.”
I went to see if Emily would make an appearance at sunset. Four out of five times that I pass the cemetery, Emily is nowhere to be found. It is hard to catch her unaware, I have yet to do it. If she is anywhere near the fence when I show up, she’s hopped to the rear of the cemetery by the time I’ve gotten her focused.
If I were a real wildlife photographer, I would bring a heavy tripod a better camera and put mosquito netting over my blind. But this is hand held footage from my pocket camera on full optical zoom, and the camera jammed against the iron fence, it came out pretty shaky. Mosquitoes were biting my legs. Give me a break.
The unconfirmed story is that she has a broken wing and was brought here from Utah. You can see the level of her mobility in the video, hopping up and down branches.
I passed by the Marble Cemetery on East Second Street this morning and saw what I thought was a huge crow (the cemetery has its own flock). A neighbor there informed me that it was a raven with a broken wing, brought to this urban sanctuary from Utah. Her name is Emily. She can’t fly more than a few feet off the ground and is sometimes harassed by a local hawk. But she has survived here for about 4 months. Emily has friends who bring her boiled chicken and Chinese food, but I also saw her scrounging for bugs in the grass.
I came back in the afternoon with my DMC-FZ5 to get this shot, my pocket camera a DMC-FS5 was not up to the task.
Update, August 5: I’ve gone back several times trying to capture more shots of Emily. I now know why she is not more famous. Most of the time she is up in her tree at the west end of the cemetery, well hidden from view.
A poor photo but at least it gives you a comparison of her size to the crow on the left.
Update, September 2, 2009
Even though I went to the Marble Cemetery several times in the past few weeks, looking for Emily, I didn’t find her. I was thinking she might have been eaten by a hawk. But here she is, yesterday. Yay! She may have moved to nesting in a tree on the east end of the cemetery that isn’t visible from the street.