Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crows and a Raven

Lots of birds are around now, though on cold mornings they stay mostly quiet. The robins and mourning doves are nesting on or near the house, and I see or hear goldfinch, song sparrows, bluebirds, woodpeckers, flickers, and a drumming ruffed grouse on my walks around the neighbourhood. Sometimes a killdeer flies overhead, or a meadowlark calls from the distance. And there are almost always turkey vultures silently soaring overhead.

Yesterday for the first this year I heard both some chipping sparrows and a field sparrow (which I think of as the ping-pong bird, because its trill increases in speed as does a ping-pong ball when dropped on a table).

And the other day I watched two crows chasing and dive-bombing a raven. I never realized how much bigger the raven is compared to the crows. The pair of crows chased the raven low above the trees, but then the raven landed and perched in a tree only 50 feet away, so I had a really good look at them. The crows continued to dive near the raven, and after a few minutes it took wing and they all flew away.

The size comparison was striking when they were seen close together. The raven was nearly twice as big in bulk as the crows, perhaps half-way between the size of a crow and the size of a vulture. And of course the raven has a very different voice, much more of a hoarse croak compared to the crow's 'caw'.

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