Archive | 7:57 pm

Skywatch – Cayucos Pier

16 Oct

Pelicans at Cayucos Pier

Skywatch – go visit for more amazing skies.

Compare and Contrast Ravens and Crows

16 Oct

I teach my 4th graders to compare and contrast in our study of California History.  I thought I’d practice what I preach.  🙂

American Crow . . .

American Crow

Common Raven . . .

Raven . . . toe tapping

Compare.

Crows and Ravens are both large, black, shiny birds.  They are both exceptionally smart.  They are omnivores and tool users. Both types of birds have complex and long-lasting familial relationships.   Both types of birds are considered songbirds!  Both have been honored (although often reviled) in literature and popular culture.

Contrast.

Ravens are bigger than Crows.  They have bigger bodies, bigger beaks, and bigger feet.  The beaks of Ravens are stronger, more prominent, and have a slight hook to them while the Crows’ beaks are sharper and pointier. Crows are widespread and common but Ravens tend to be more reclusive.  Ravens are acrobats in the sky — they somersault, roll, and dive in amazing acrobatic displays.  Ravens have a pointed tail; Crows have a rounded or squared off tail.  Crows are known to join together into huge roosts seasonally.  Ravens have been known to form large temporary groups too but it is much less common.   American Crows are only found in the US while Common Ravens are found around the world.

Identifying your large black Corvid.

If they happen to be together, it’s pretty easy.  The bigger one with the bigger beak . . . that’s your basic Raven.  However, you aren’t likely to see them together.  I’m lucky in that they have chosen to live together at my school (hey, grade schoolers are a great source of food!).  Usually, you’ll see one or the other.  If you are on the East coast, you’re likely seeing a Crow.  On the West coast, it depends on where you are.  If you are in an urban environment, you’re likely to be seeing a crow.  If you are in the mountains, you are likely seeing a Raven.  Certainly, if you are in the Arctic . . . it’s a Raven!