Most of the ravens we pass on this Sunday morning stroll through downtown exude the confidence I’ve come to expect from the opinionated birds. They poise their rain-slick bodies on prominent cottonwood limbs or gather on newly green patches of grass. Some chase away eagles with triple their wingspan. But the two that we spot on the docks look hung over.
Near the morose corvids, two large rafts of surf scoters dive on balls of herring that have formed under the new cruise-ship dock. The ravens appear to cringe when the scoters panic onto the tips of their wings and use them to run across the surface of Gastineau Channel.
Under the partial protection of the Marine Park shelter, a homeless couple ignore the scoter’s din, dive deeper into their nest of castoff down sleeping bags, and try to gain a few more minutes of sleep. Soon city workers will start up their noisy power washers to hose down the docks. Then the homeless and the low ravens will have to find a quieter place to finish coming down.