Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Related shows:

Ravens and Crows - Who Is Who

Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue... read more »

RELATED

Tony Angell on the Raven

Tony Angell reflects: "It's a cloudless summer day as I listen to ravens behind me in the woods. There's an endless repertoire of croaks, krawks, barks, yelps, and yodels. Other ravens across the bay respond in kind, and I imagine that this is a day of poetry and perhaps a few jokes shared... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection

Tony Angell Reflects on Nature

Tony Angell, gazing on Puget Sound, writes: "From the beach below, that evocative perfume of the sea, decaying kelp, is wafted up on the breeze... Near the shore, disputing kingfishers rattle in their mercenary manner, chasing one another... Behind me, in the woods, a Cooper's hawk chants and... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection

Mating for Life

Most bird species in North America mate for a single breeding season. Some may team up again the following year, just because both stay in - or return to - the same territory. Fewer than one-fifth of Song Sparrow pairs, like these, are reunited. Hawks, eagles, and ravens have wide territories,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting

How Raven Made the Tide

Long ago the tide stayed close to shore. The people went hungry because the clams lay hidden under water. Then Raven had a plan. He put on his cloak and flew along the shore to the house of the old woman who held the tide-line firmly in her hand. Raven fooled her, and she let go of the tide-line,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  myth

Raven and the Winding River

Many years ago, when rivers began flowing from the mountains to the sea, the animals couldn't agree on their course. Raven wanted the rivers to turn and wind, so that as he flew up and down them, he would have different views at every bend. Mink disagreed. The loud and raucous Raven convinced the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  myth

Raven and the Sun, A Myth

Raven, in Northwestern Coastal mythology, is the Trickster, the agent of mischief and games. Raven was covetous of the sun but couldn't figure out how to steal it. He finally found a way and when you hear him call, he's still laughing about how clever he was. This photo courtesy of John Fletcher... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  myth

Ravens and Wolves

Researcher Bernd Heinrich writes: "Ravens associate with any animals that kill large game - polar bears, grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, killer whales, and humans." These birds travel with caribou on their migration, and scavenge remains after wolves have made their kills. The bill of the Common... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  science

The Royal Ravens

The Tower of London has a long and notorious history of murderous political intrigue, dungeons, and famous beheadings. And for more than 300 years, the tower has also been home to a set of royally maintained ravens. Since the time of Charles II, at least six ravens have - by royal decree - made... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  history

Raven's Love Song

Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But Common Ravens have a softer side. During courtship, a pair will often sit side by side, sometimes preening each other's feathers. And during that ritual, one or both may make soft warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, vocalization

Raven, Dog, Bone

Ravens are crafty! BirdNote listener Gary Cummins tells a story about the intelligence of ravens. When he worked at Grand Canyon National Park, Gary had a Siberian husky named Tasha. When two ravens saw her with a tasty bone, they teamed up on her. One raven acted distressed, hopping slowly,... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  listener story

Bird Life at the Grand Canyon

With its awe-inspiring vistas and eons of geologic time on display, the Grand Canyon also offers a unique habitat for birds. What you're likely to see first is this Bronzed Cowbird, strutting on the lawn of a lodge or restaurant. Common Ravens call and squabble. If you're lucky, you may spot the... read more »

RELATED

Hello, Macaw - With Tony Angell

Artist and naturalist, Tony Angell, describes his communication with Macaw, a raven that came into his life and home. "I would say, 'Hello, Macaw,' and his communication to me was often to lean over for preening. Eventually, the arrangement became so routine to Macaw that something had gone on in... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Christmas Bird Counts at the Extremes

This winter, volunteers will tally birds in more than 2,000 locations as part of the annual Christmas Bird Count. In the U.S., birders will venture forth at the very extremes of the country’s geographic reach. At Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, a few hardy souls will count birds in deep twilight, since the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  citizen science

The Benefits of a Raven's Black Feathers

The desert seems an unlikely habitat choice for all-black birds. But ravens thrive even in the arid Southwest, where common sense suggests that light-colored feathers would be a better adaptation to the scorching sun. As it turns out, a raven’s black plumage works well in the desert.  read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ornithology, plumage

Flying and Molting - A Tricky Balance

Feathers are miraculous structures. But after about a year, constant use and exposure to the elements mean they have to be replaced. So how do you replace the roughly 20 feathers in each wing that are essential to flight? Many species — such as this Common Raven — molt just a few feathers at a... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  plumage

City Ravens

Once common on the Atlantic Coast, Common Ravens became rare, as human activity grew more obtrusive through the 1900s. But something changed around the dawn of the 21st century. The ravens came back. Ravens now patrol parking lots in New Jersey to seize the choicest trash, dodge speeding cars on... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  nesting
Home
Shows
Galleries
More