Friday, December 20, 2013

California Ravens

Common Raven
Common Raven, Mission Hills Regional Park, San Diego, California, October 4, 2013. Photo by Greg Gillson.
When I first arrived in San Diego I was somewhat surprised at all the Common Ravens in town. In general I noted a pair of ravens for every 3-5 pairs of crows. Both crows and ravens are common and scattered throughout the residential areas of San Diego. In western Oregon, ravens are birds of more open country and mountain forests, and stay away from residential areas.

I have also noted that the ravens in San Diego are obviously smaller than birds in the Pacific Northwest, less wary (downright friendly), and have a higher voice. The call is rough, but not nearly as deep or raspy and croaking as ravens elsewhere. In other words, ravens are more similar to crows in the SW than elsewhere in North America. Ravens are told apart from crows by the raven's wedged tail, heavier bill, deeper raspy voice, and more hawk-like flight style. See this ID and range information from eBird.