Sep 10 2009

A Human Voice

Published by at 7:48 am under Crows & Ravens

Common Raven (photo by M.I.K.E. via Shutterstock)

Early one morning in Maine I heard a girl calling in the woods, “Ho!”  When I looked for the voice I found a young raven.

Crows and ravens are in the same family but they aren’t friends.  Crows are smaller and sometimes preyed upon by the smarter more powerful ravens, so crows raise the alarm – if appropriate – when they see a raven.

I say “if appropriate” because crows are careful.  If they don’t think they can safely make a ruckus they quietly leave the scene.  But if the raven is at a disadvantage, watch out!

That morning at Acadia I saw two ravens fly over the road.  About ten minutes later six crows showed up.  As they approached, a crow called from one of the trees but instead of happily joining one of their own the flock zoomed into the tree scolding loudly.  They had surrounded an immature raven speaking “crow.”

The young raven was at a disadvantage so he changed his tune and called, “Ho!”  I’d heard that sound the day before and thought it was a girl calling to her companions on the hiking trail.

Ravens are great mimics so perhaps this one had listened to a real person. He called again, his parent returned, and the crows quickly dispersed.

His call for help worked, even though it was the sound of a human voice.


p.s. You can tell this raven is immature by the red skin at his gape (beak).

(photo from Shutterstock)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A Human Voice”

  1. Mary Jo Bermanon 11 Sep 2009 at 9:12 am

    Kate –

    I love reading your blog. Its so informative. The pictures are exceptional.

    If you are near Rhode Island this weekend, The Audobon society is presenting Raptor Weekend 2009 in Bristol, RI on Sat & Sun

    full details at

    –mary jo

  2. Walter Mackinson 10 Sep 2016 at 4:28 pm

    What a wonderful story! Crows and ravens are such amazing animals.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply