Very-Temporary Fossils

While nothing in Interior Alaska can be considered typical, Fairbanks – typically – isn’t very windy. This winter has brought no shortage of windy days. While occasionally bone-chilling cold, wind also creates exciting conditions. Ravens seem to have fun when currents whip up.

Ravens play in high winds above UAF's Fine Art Complex. April 17, 2013.

Ravens play in high winds above UAF’s Fine Art Complex. April 17, 2013.

The next day, slowly picking my way down a steep, slippery hill, my preferred route between car and classroom, I found evidence some ravens had been using strong winds and currents to their advantage.

Spiraling strike marks decorated the snow’s surface. A raven had been hunting, likely a small rodent. My friend accurately described it as a “very-temporary fossil.” Indeed unlikely the imprint would be preserved more then a day or two.

A hunting raven leaves evidence in the snow, April 18, 2013.

A hunting raven leaves evidence in the snow, April 18, 2013.

At the time I was en route to grab class materials, happy just to spot the strike, I didn’t linger. Deciding to court a safer path back up the hill, my attention was once more drawn toward patterns in the snow. I couldn’t pass the opportunity to photograph another strike mark. Even if it meant going back to my car to swap tennis shoes for boots.

A pedestrian walks up a path at UAF, near a imprint a raven left in the snow, akin to a temporary fossil.

A pedestrian walks up a path at UAF, near a raven imprint in the snow, akin to a temporary fossil.

Close-up of an imprint left by a hunting raven.

Close-up of an imprint left by a hunting raven.

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One Comment on “Very-Temporary Fossils

  1. No longer ‘temporary’ fossils, Robin! You have made them photography-permanent. Great pix!

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