For the Birds: Ravens in Shoreline?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ravens can be twice as big as crows
with very large beaks.
Stock photo
By Christine Southwick

Have you been hearing a deeper sounding croaking in your neighborhood?

You too could be hearing and seeing Common Ravens! 

Ravens often pass through the Shoreline area during winter months, usually from about November off and on thru March, but I have not heard/seen a pair this early in the year, nor for over three continuous weeks. 

Maybe they have found somewhere to stay here. Wouldn’t that be great!

Ravens look a lot like our American Crows, but they can be twice as large as local crows.

Here are a couple of ways to tell the difference:

Their voice is one of the best clues — their call is a hoarse crooaaak. They also make a deep wonk-wonk croaking.

When flying, Raven tails are long and wedge-shaped versus crows that have tails that appear to end with a straight edge across when they fly. 

Raven wings are longer than crows and the “fingers” on the ends of their wings are more obvious. Plus, Ravens tend to soar and glide, unlike crows that have mostly constant wing strokes.

Ravens have a large bill with a bump near the end, and shaggy feathers on their throat, and they are more massive than any other corvid, sometimes weighing more than four times that of a crow in this area.

Wedge shaped tail and
"fingers" on wings
identify ravens
Stock photo
Plus, ravens fly by themselves, or with their partner. The only time you will see more than two is on a carcass or landfill.

Ravens build their nests for 3-7 young in cliffs, tall trees or even power-line towers and bridges. In tall trees they wedge their nest in a strong crotch, using the three-foot branches the male brings. The female then weaves a basket-like inner nest for her eggs.

Ravens are one of the smartest birds, easily able to solve complicated problems while often inventing tools to do so. They will often help other ravens solve a hard problem.

These birds are human tolerant, and often follow hunters to find left-overs of a kill. Ravens have long been featured in myths around the world. First Nation peoples call the Raven a creator and a trickster.

Personally, I think that any time I see or hear a raven I am having a really great day.



2 comments:

jno62 September 12, 2019 at 9:54 AM  

I heard on croak just last week. I always surprised to hear them in the city because I know Crows don't like them. They tend to stay up in the mountains.

Cool birds!!

Ramona Daniel Gault September 13, 2019 at 9:15 AM  

Such good news! We moved to Shoreline from Magnolia a few months ago and love all the trees here! For the past couple of years a pair of ravens was hanging around Discovery Park from time to time. I saw and heard them quite a bit. I'd love to hear ravens in Shoreline. Perhaps some will settle here.

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