Twenty years ago, fresh out of graduate school and recently married, John and Colleen Marzluff left Arizona for a small cabin in the mountains of western Maine. Their mission: to conduct the first-ever extensive study of the winter ecology of the Common Raven under the tutelage of biologist Bernd Heinrich.
Drawing on field notes and personal diaries, they vividly and eloquently chronicle their three-year endeavor to research a mysterious and often misunderstood bird-assembling a gigantic aviary, climbing sentry trees, building bird blinds in the forest, capturing and sustaining 300 ravens as study subjects, and enduring harsh Maine winters in pursuit of their goal. They also shared the unique challenges and joys of raising, training, and racing the sled dogs that assisted them in their work.
Accompanied by Evon Zerbetz's lovely linocut illustrations, Dog Days, Raven Nights is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the adventures of field science and an insightful exploration of the nature of relationships, both animal and human.
John M. Marzluff is professor of wildlife science, College of the Environment, University of Washington. Colleen Marzluff is an expert in the raising and training of sled dogs and herding dogs. They live in Snohomish, WA. Evon Zerbetz is an artist in Ketchikan, AK.