This morning we headed off dog sledding, as we do most weekend these days. The puppy is getting big enough and bold enough that he has followed us on a couple occasions. I've tended to just let him run as far as he can and we get him on the way back. Today as we paused on the ice he was heading down to join us.
Following the puppy, just a couple of feet above him, was a Raven. There were four or five other Ravens making a beeline to him. Now the puppy was oblivious to the Raven closing in on him and Travis had to run straight to them to scare the Ravens off. They milled around close by, and I felt it was prudent to take the pup with us. Were the Ravens simply curious, perhaps.
But we do know that we have a group of predatory Ravens here, that have taken eiders on the wing, and Arctic Hare. It would not be a stretch to think they were after the puppy. To my mind it seems like the most likely explanation.
Later Travis and three of his friends headed out with me to the Gyrfalcon aerie, to take tea by the cliffs. The wind was up, and although it wasn't overly cold, it carried a chill. We had our hot chocolate in the lee of the iglutaq while waiting to see if one of the Gyrs would appear. One is likely in the nest, as breeding has already commenced, but the other was also not in sight.
Then high up, above the tops of the cliffs (which are 600 feet high) one of the Gyrfalcons could be seen, gliding towards a fissure in the cliff face. It disappeared but quickly reappeared, hot on the tail of a Raven. As they moved away from us we watched as it struck at the Raven at least twice, before disappearing from our view. We do not know how the Raven fared, but both birds are certainly capable of bringing down each other.
Sometimes your place in the food chain can shift dramatically. Sometimes you're the windshield...