north coast Band-tailed Pigeon & Common Raven


Band-tailed Pigeons are one of my regulars (2-8) usually encountered on my
spring time weekly morning walks since 1994 in San Simeon State Park. Most
often seen or at least heard on the nature trail near the crest of the piney
hills before descending down to the riparian area. They have also been seen
or heard on most of my exploratory forays during the Spring along the higher
forested parts of Cypress Mountain Road east of Cambria.

Common Ravens indeed are very scarce if not down right rare along the north
coast. This apparent historic coastal 'gap' between Santa Barbara and San
Francisco, which oddly enough includes the rugged Big Sur coast, the Santa
Lucia Mountains, and Ventana Wilderness seems down right weird. Imagining a
rational reason completely escapes me. Little different as to why they are
absent from urban 'Pugetopolis' (Seattle area) but common all around. The
occasional sightings of Ravens at Piedras Blancas each Spring, usually only
once or twice, involves birds apparently off on vacation from back east
somewhere and on some sight seeing adventure. Initial detection and
awareness is announced almost invariably by call. I've seen birds come
flying in high overhead from straight out of the east and head straight out
to sea for up to a half mile or so. Oops! And they make an abrupt "U-turn"
and head back from where they came. Occasionally a bird or two will stick
around for a day or two or three, quite obvious, quite vocal. None have been
detected yet this Spring. For what it's worth, even Common Crows seldom make
the trip to the point, although only a half-mile away along rt.1 they remain
a frequent sight as anyone would probably know.

Richard Rowlett (
NOAA/NMFS Gray Whale Survey
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
San Simeon, California

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what
nobody has thought" --Albert Szent-Gyorgi (1893-1986).