Raven Gets Creative

Crows are common in the city but ravens are rare so I was surprised to hear a raven this week in Schenley Park.  It called and circled overhead waiting for its companion to arrive. “Brrrock! Brrrock!”  When the second raven caught up they flew away together.

I see ravens in town about twice a year but I only hear them make the Brrrock call.  If I lived where common ravens (Corvus corax) are common, I’d hear their wide variety of sounds.

This video from Anchorage, Alaska gives you an idea of the ravens’ vocal range.  He starts with Brrrock.   Then he gets creative.

(video by dougbrown47 on YouTube)

7 thoughts on “Raven Gets Creative

  1. Oh! I’m so excited you saw a raven because it confirms my suspicion that I also saw a couple of ravens in town this week. I saw a group of suspiciously large “crows” foraging in a lot on N Highland Ave near Obama Middle School in East Liberty/Highland Park and wondered if they were in fact ravens. I only got a quick glance because I was on a bus at the time but my knee-jerk impression was that they were waaaay too big to just be crows.

    1. Andrew, if they were ravens there would only be two. They don’t hang out in flocks here. (Note: Adults don’t flock. However the younger set hangs out together in winter in places like Vermont.)

    2. That’s interesting and I did not know that; I must have just been some big crows. Thanks, Kate!

  2. My husband plays in a community band, and at their concert on Monday the band director told a raven joke. He said his daughter sent it to him. And I know this is not true, but it’s a silly joke and it involves ravens so I had to tell it. (You can make the joke as elaborate as you want…this is one of several versions I found online.)


    A biologist was asked to determine whether crows and ravens were, in fact, really two different subspecies of birds, which had been a matter of some conjecture for quite some time.

    Given only a cursory glance, these birds appear to be virtually identical. The biologist spent considerable time watching the birds in their habitat and logging hours of observations. Their beaks were the same, their feet and their bodies showed no variable difference. But, at last, a breakthrough. The long feathers at the tip of a birds’ wings, which are called the pinion feathers (or pinions), provided the conclusion that ravens and crows do, in fact, have one crucial difference. A crow has 10 pinions, and a raven has only nine.

    So therefore, ergo, ipso facto, the difference between crows and ravens is a matter of a pinion.

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