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A Raven, On Snow

Regular photo contributor, Gregg Thompson, visited Mount Rainier in Washington State, hoping to find White-tailed Ptarmigan in their pure-white winter plumage. He didn't find any. Actually, the first bird he saw –- and only when he returned to the parking lot -- was this Common Raven. But the result was worth the trip, at least in our eyes. To see these beautiful corvids on a snowy background is stunning.

So then, Gregg decided to get creative. He writes: "The ravens were on the snow, and after looking at my pictures at home, I decided to give them the white background look. It sort of went with the flow. It's hard to get good exposures on the raven without over-exposing the snowy background, so I worked on smoothing out the snow shadows. I like the look."

And so do we!

Common Ravens are effective hunters, preying on small rodents, bird nestlings, and large insects. They take advantage of garbage dumps and carrion. The beaks of ravens aren't sharp enough to tear into a carcass, so they also rely on predatory mammals, such as wolves, coyotes, and cougars. They're among the most intelligent birds. In fact, "A study in Wyoming discovered that during hunting season, the sound of a gunshot draws ravens in to investigate a presumed carcass, whereas the birds ignore sounds that are just as loud but harmless, such as an airhorn or a car door slamming." (Cornell's All About Birds)

Learn more about Common Ravens on BirdNote: Ravens and Wolves; Raven's Love Song; and Raven, Dog, Bone. And look at videos of ravens playing in snow on our blog post, Do Birds Play?

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