Backcountry Bird: The Raven

They’re found above a snowy pass, playing on the wind. They’re seen soaring high in red rock canyons. High elevation mountain-top, low elevation desert, winter, summer – it doesn’t matter when or where, I think ravens rule as the most common bird in the backcountry. Even non-birders can spot a raven. These big, black birds are unmistakeable – unless it’s not a raven but its cousin, the crow. 

Raven - the anywhere, anytime bird!

How to Tell a Raven from a Crow:

  1. size – ravens are larger
  2. bill – ravens have bigger and thicker bills; crow bills curve downwards.
  3. tail – crow tails are slightly rounded; raven tails are slightly pointed
  4. flight – crows flap steadily in flight; ravens often soar

Common Members of the Crow (Corvidae) Family:

  • crows
  • ravens
  • jays
  • magpies

Did You Know?

Members of the crow family are thought to be among the most intelligent of all bird brains.

Good Reads:

Mind of the Raven, by Bernd Heinrich. A scientific study.
Raven’s End, by Ben Gadd. A tall tale etched with truth.

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