Tag Archives: ravens

Wordless Wednesday – One year ago this week

3 Dec

Ravens at BCE


Rainy Day Ravens

27 Jan

Ravens staying dry

Ravens staying out of the rain, 1/25/2008

As regular readers of my blog know, I have a love/hate relationship with Ravens. Okay, that isn’t really true — I just plain love them but they are totally disrespectful of my camera. In the past, they have posed for me beautifully. This year, slowly reaching for my camera and turning it on assures that I will be treated to a a picture empty of ravens as they fly away. I swear I can hear them laughing at me as they do it. My kids now call them “Rotten Ravens” because of this habit.

However, Ravens are really smart and Friday morning when it had rained hard for the entire previous day. This pair was in a dry spot and didn’t want to move. They were annoyed by my snapping pictures but not enough to leave or anything. Smart cookies!

It was dark enough with the rain that I had to use flash. I love that I got eye shine on all of them. Ravens don’t usually have yellow glowing eyes but it adds a certain something, doesn’t it?

Amazing Sights

23 Dec

I’ve read a great deal about Ravens and one of the intriguing things I know about them is that they engage in sky dances with their mates. I’ve never seen any do this. Despite all the beautiful romantic behavior I’ve seen between Ravens — sharing food, nuzzling each other, and engaging in their other lovely mating rituals, I had never seen them doing their sky dance of love (wow, that sounds like a Vegas night club act, doesn’t it?).

Yesterday, I saw a pair of ravens fly high into the sky and then dive for the earth at top speed. It was amazing — literally stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away. Later in the day, I saw another pair engaged in similar behavior. So beautiful watching them chase and spin and dive and whirl and spiral in the sky.

This morning, I saw a group of Ravens flying high — clearly just playing in the air. It was so beautiful. I pulled the car over and snapped a bunch of shots. These shots are very zoomed in. That is a Coastal Redwood — the tallest trees in the world. It’s between 200 and 300 feet tall. Those birds are high up and playing in the air currents.

Raven Dance 2

Slide Show

When I got home and looked at the photos, I realized that there was a raven sitting in the tree that the birds were flying around. Was it the Raven Queen watching her subjects perform for her pleasure? Was it a female considering the prowess of the males displaying their skills for her? I don’t have the answer but love both ideas.



The Differences Between Crows and Ravens

22 Dec

My friend, BEG, asked if I would please talk about the differences between Crows and Ravens. I described those differences briefly but now will do so in more detail.

American Crow

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large black bird (16-21 in). They are widespread and common. If you see a large black bird, it’s most likely a crow. They tend to flock and can congregate in extremely large numbers — up to 2 million birds. If you see one crow, you almost always will see 10 more. Crows make a caw-caw sound. Crows in flight show their “fingers” but not as much as a Raven. I didn’t have a picture but found a good one on Flickr {click}. Crows eat carrion but need another animal to open it up first (or decay to soften things up sufficiently — ewwww!)

More walking

Common Ravens (Corvus Corax) are very large black birds (22-27 in). It is larger in every way. Most notably, it’s beak is much, much larger. Ravens have an extremely diverse range — from the Arctic to the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. They are generally secretive and are considered one of the smartest of all birds. Ravens also roost in large numbers but much less commonly than Crows. Ravens are more often seen in pairs. Ravens also have a large throat ruff (see below). Ravens make a kronk-kronk sound. However, they also make all sorts of other sounds such as knocks, gurgles, etc. Ravens have a blunt tail. In flight, Ravens’ primary feathers make “fingers” as they are longer and seperate (see below). Ravens also soar more than Crows do. Ravens are also acrobats in the air whereas Crows do not tend toward diving toward the earth, spinning in flight, nor flying upside down as Ravens will sometimes do. Ravens eat carrion and are large enough and strong enough to eat fresh carrion — as evidence by the picture above which was taken in front of my house when a squirrel fell in front of a car. The Ravens ate well that day.

Raven showing off his neck ruff.

Common Raven, flying
Raven soaring with his “fingers” showing

For my money, Ravens are so amazing as to overshadow the poor crow. Ravens are larger, louder, and smarter. I admire them so much. I feel so lucky to get to see them everyday at school and at home. A pair moved into our neighborhood and I’m thrilled by that. They are social and solitary; smart and secretive. I don’t say this to offend fans of the American Crow — they are amazing as well but for me, the Raven is something else again.