Bradgate Park raven

I went to Bradgate park to photograph the deer, but instead I ended up photographing a playful raven!

I’d just packed my camera away (you should never really do it until back at the car), as I’d finished snapping for the morning, when I noticed a raven feeding amongst the rocks. I offloaded my bags and tripod and slowly pulled my camera back out, thinking it would surely fly off by the time I was set. But when I looked up from putting the lens hood back on it was at my feet!

Slightly taken aback, I had to think fast. It was now too close for my 80-400mm to focus on. Not knowing how long it would stay or how skittish it was going to be, I reached for my compact camera. After a couple of minutes the battery died! so it was then out with the phone.

Before long I knew it wasn’t bothered by me at all. It would stand within reach, whilst looking in the opposite direction. Once I realised I had a little more time and the chance to move about without frightening it off I went back to my DSLR and 80-400mm.

I’ve never noticed that many ravens in the park, but this one was clearly used to humans. Now I don’t speak raven, but if you watch the below video, I’m pretty sure it’s saying “where’s my breakfast, I’m starving”.

Unusual behaviour

Apart from it feeding I also noticed some more unusual behaviour. Now I don’t know much about ravens, apart from them being renowned for their intelligence, but after a quick Google it seems they are quite well known for playing too. This ones favourite game was picking up a clump of earth, which it had previously dug up whilst feeding, then lying on its side and kicking its legs out and bitting one of them – whatever floats your boat!

Another move it would often do was bend down and walk slightly backwards with its beak on the ground. I thought it was cleaning it to begin with, but after awhile I wasn’t so sure. You can see it near the beginning of the video. I was wearing mainly greys and black and did wonder if it thought I was the mighty king raven and it was bowing!

It was a great experience being so close and witnessing some unusual behaviour, well, unusual to me at least. This close encounter not only gave me some great shots but reminded me to keep my eyes open for the unexpected when out watching wildlife!


Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: Nikon 80-400mm

Video: as above, except closeups which were with an iPhone.


Bradgate Park website