|Photo courtesy of Tom Grey|
Ravens appear “playful” in the air—swooping, falling, rolling. Much of this activity is part of their courtship maneuvering. They alternately flap and soar like a hawk. Breeding pairs tend to stay in their territory year round. Ravens are often part of Native American stories.
- Large, black bird with a purplish, glossy sheen; 22–27 in (56–69 cm); wedge-shaped tail; long-pointed wings; wing span 4–4 ½ ft; very thick bill; feet and bill are black.
- Common call a very low gronk; also a croaking, resonant cark cark.
- Ravens are opportunistic scavengers, feeding on carrion. They are omnivorous, eating shellfish, rodents, insects, seeds, fruit, bird eggs and food scraps. They also cache food.
- A large, bulky, loose nest of sticks and bones, lined with a soft material such as wool. Nest built on cliffs, up in trees, on power poles or saguaro cactus. The 3-8 eggs are olive or drab, spotted and blotched with brown or lavender.
- Live in a variety of habitats, including deserts, mountains, forests, canyons and Pacific coast beaches. Prefers open country.
- Found throughout the west and across Canada to Greenland; south to Central America.
- Year round resident
- Crows are also a glossy, all black birds. However, they are smaller than ravens (17-21 in; 43-53 cm). They also have shorter, less powerful bills. Their tails are square or slightly rounded. Voice is a caw, not as hoarse as that of a raven. They are also opportunistic feeders, consuming a great deal of plant and animal food—seeds, insects, garbage, rodents. Crows are residents near Idyllwild.