Living in Kitsilano sometimes makes me think of that CCR song “Looking out my back door,” especially the part that goes, “look at all the crazy people dancing on my lawn.” But lately it’s been the wildlife that has really been acting crazy. From my balcony, I saw a seagull and a raven circling each other in the air like World War I flying aces. Another time, alerted by high-pitched screaming and cawing, I looked out to see a raven zooming down on a seagull, who stood its ground, or rather its power pole. The pole didn’t look large enough to have a nest on top of it, so it’s not like the seagull was defending its home. Maybe they were just fighting for the hell of it? Or playfighting? Apparently ravens have been known to play with other animals, so maybe it was just having fun while the seagull didn’t know what the heck was going on?
Anyways. I’ve been seeing a lot of birds fighting each other lately. I couldn’t help but think it’s symbolic of something or other, so I tried to find some mythology relating to seagulls and ravens or crows, and this is what I discovered on Wikipedia:
[A] legend from the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest tells of how at the beginning of the world, Raven was the one who brought light to the darkness. When the Great Spirit created all things he kept them separate and stored in cedar boxes. The Great Spirit gifted these boxes to the animals who existed before humans. When the animals opened the boxes all the things that comprise the world came into being. The boxes held such things as mountains, fire, water, wind and seeds for all the plants. One such box, which was given to Seagull, contained all the light of the world.
Seagull coveted his box and refused to open it, clutching it under his wing. All the people asked Raven to persuade Seagull to open it and release the light. Despite begging, demanding, flattering and trying to trick him into opening the box, Seagull still refused. Finally Raven became angry and frustrated, and stuck a thorn in Seagull’s foot. Raven pushed the thorn in deeper until the pain caused Seagull to drop the box. Then out of the box came the sun, moon and stars that brought light to the world and allowed the first day to begin.
Those covetous seagulls! I always knew they were up to no good, especially when one of them had tried to snatch a churro right from my hand in San Francisco. They want the good things all to themselves: the sun, the moon, the stars… and even churros! Obviously, the ravens were engaging in some preventative measures to keep these interlopers under control. By the way, the seagull in the photo is not the one I saw fighting, just a random seagull I met in San Francisco. It looked very much like it, though…
Well, that’s all for today. I’m going to write my fantasy novel. Have a good day, and if you see a raven and seagull fighting, cheer for the raven!