KETCHIKAN - Three raven chicks likely would have been ground up for compost, along with the pile of brush in which they were found, if they hadn't been squawking for food.
The racket got the attention of Ketchikan landfill scale operator Laura Huffine who found the chicks Sunday in an intact nest.
Huffine said Tuesday that she heard "this horrendous noise coming out of the brush pile as we passed." When she checked she said, "all I saw were huge pink mouths. It was a little startling, to tell the truth."
She said she called a few places, but, being a Sunday, no bird experts were available to help. She left the chicks in the brush overnight, and landfill supervisor Bob Sivertsen pulled them out Monday morning.
The chicks, which likely had been in the brush pile since Saturday when it was dropped off at the landfill, were taken inside and given some food and water. Sivertsen said the chicks were eager for the food and water the landfill provided, and that they were old enough to eat on their own.
"Those are some pretty good-sized mouths," he said.
Sivertsen said he called around to see who could take the birds. On Monday, the demanding chicks were on a plane to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka.
He said it would be impossible to find out where the nest had been originally. "They must have come in with a load from someplace," he said.
The landfill is a stopping point for all kinds of animals, he said, including a bag of puppies one time. "We found homes for them, too," he said.