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Large Land Birds, Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has a very large population of common Ravens. Their beak is thick and straight with curved tip, quite large compared to head size, They are up to 65 cm long and can have up to a 120 cm wingspan, similar in size to small hawks. All black bill and plumage may appear glossy or dull , All black coloration does not have any distinctive markings, but the feathers on their chin and throat are longer and shaggy. The tail has a clear wedge shape that is visible in flight.

Their diet consists of human trash, bird eggs, insects, small animals, fruit.

Raven, Photo By Bud Logan
Raven, Photo By Bud Logan

Common Ravens are found in a range of habitats throughout all of Canada and Alaska and in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains south to Mexico and Central America. Small but growing populations are also found in the Appalachian Mountains and northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York.

These birds do not migrate.

The Common raven has a deep voice that sometimes can seem to echo. Their vocabulary is large and includes croaks, knocks, gurgles, whistles and screams that sound hoarse or raspy, always a joy to listen to them chat.

Believed to be the smartest of the crow family, common ravens will follow predators to scavenge from a kill. When one bird discovers carrion such as road kill or an abandoned kill from other predators, it will call other birds to the corpse to overwhelm potential competitors by sheer numbers of feeding birds. Early fall, 2014, l saw over 100 in an area no bigger than a good sized yard feeding on a deer that had been hit by a vehicle, was an amazing sight.

Raven, Photo By Bud Logan
Raven, Photo By Bud Logan

These birds are acrobatic flyers and can perform long glides, swift turns, rolls and may even fly upside down. They will often soar over highways looking for road kill.

Male and female birds mate for life and work together to build a complex basket or platform nest made from wool, fur, grasses and other materials, often lined with mud. Pairs raise one brood of up to six nestlings per year. Females incubate the eggs for up to 21 days and the fledgling bird stage lasts around 40 days while both parents feed the young birds. Pairs will reuse the same nesting site year after year.

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