Common Raven

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Corvus corax

Birds in the Family Corvidea (ravens, crows, jays) are believed to be among the most intelligent birds. The brain to body ratio of corvids is the largest of any bird and only slightly less than humans.  Ravens in particular show ingenuity in feeding strategies, use of tools, and cooperative group behaviors.  Ravens learn by exploring their environment and then pass this “knowledge” to next generations.

Raven or Crow?

Common Ravens are much larger than crows, in fact they are the largest all-black bird in the world.  Ravens have a wedge-shaped tail which can be seen in flight.  Ravens also prefer open landscapes with less human activity while crows will congregate in urban areas and can be seen in neighbors and local parks.

Ravens have long been part of human folklore.  Believed to be very intelligent animals, with a trickster-like personality, they have been both feared and revered.   Because they will eat carrion (dead animals), some cultures dreaded ravens as messengers of ill-will and death.  Others, however, recognized and admired their cleverness.  Many Native American traditional stories portray Raven as the creator of humans.

Ravens are also acrobatic fliers, displaying aerial rolls, somersaults, and even flying upside down.

They are social and have a diverse range of calls, non-vocal sounds, and physical displays to communicate with one another.

One of our resident ravens, Hello, says “hello” in several different voices.

We have two resident ravens, both female.   Haida was found in Fremont in 1990.  She was brought to our wildlife hospital and treated for a wing injury.  Unfortunately, her wing did not heal well enough to fly, so she would not be able to survive in the wild.

Hello was also treated in our wildlife hospital before becoming a permanent resident. In 1999, she was found thin and dehydrated.  It was discovered that she had permanent neurological issues and impaired vision.  She would not be able to fend for herself in the wild.  Despite her condition, she is active, always has a good appetite, and apparently loves to “talk” with people with raven calls and “hello.”  (She also sings like an operatic chicken!)