Crows and ravens can nest as early as February

The Crow's Nest.jpg
The Crow's Nest.jpg by Tony Margiocchi (Snapperz)

Most birds start to nest in the late spring and throughout summer but there have been observations of crows and ravens nesting as early as February. According to these observations, ((http://www.newsleader.com/article/20110202/SPORTS/102020330/1006/SPORTS))

  • American crow: Allen Larner observed adults nest building on Feb. 23, 2000, and Feb. 21, 2005, both in Staunton. American crows live on territories the year round in family groups of 2-10 birds. Adults and young of the previous year may assist in raising the young of the newest brood.
  • Common raven: Our earliest breeding record is a pair carrying nest material on Feb. 3, 2008, at Fishersville. Beth and Harry Lumadue made this observation. It was on a large billboard. They kept close track of the nest and discovered eggs on Feb. 28.
  • Allen Hale discovered another nest with eggs on Feb. 28, 1988, at the quarry on Statler Boulevard in Staunton. It was unusual to find a raven nest right in town.

Now is as good as time as any to put out things in your yard for the birds to find to make nests. Twigs, scraps of light material, etc. But please as always it is important to not let plastic bags end up all over the place. Recycle them properly or better yet, commit to not using plastic. Use your own reusable canvas bags, most grocery stores offer them for like $1 and you can use them time and time again. Or use paper. Plastic is so detrimental to birds not to mention the entire plastic island that is accumulating in the middle of the ocean. =( *jumps off soapbox*

Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest


Two of my very dearest things, ravens and books, and a story set in the Pacific Northwest… my home. This is a book about a raven…what better way to introduce children to your love of ravens and crows than reading a good story about them? Here is the official book description,

Raven, the trickster, wants to give people the gift of light. But can he find out where Sky Chief keeps it? And if he does, will he be able to escape without being discovered? His dream seems impossible, but if anyone can find a way to bring light to the world, wise and clever Raven can!

Click on the book above to purchase the book or to read more about it.

Ravens Compete

Ravens Compete, originally uploaded by nordicshutter.

Love, love, love. Ravens like all corvids are loving and close with family. They are loyal mates. According to the Dr. Bernd Heinrich, mates are close to as what we think of as monogamous as any bird can be. Here is what he told Carolyn Kraft on wildthingsblog.org,

Dr. Heinrich explained that, “ravens are more monogamous than many, in the sense that the same pair may stay together for years. I have had mated pairs, and seen how they are totally uninterested in other individuals, even when a mate is not available.”

Since ravens live for more than half a century, Heinrich said that “nobody on earth has demonstrated that there was no extra-pair copulation.” And he said that in almost all the genetic investigations to check paternity of chicks of “monogamous” bird species there is quite a bit of extra-pair fertilization. “But I suspect in ravens it would be rare,” he concludes.

Two corvid-related sites worth visiting

I wanted to tell you about two corvid-related sites worth visiting both run out of the UK. Each is informative, helpful and specific to corvids.

The Corvid Journal

According to their about page,

This website is a new collaborative project dedicated to bringing you information and insights into the world of a remarkable family of birds, the Corvidae.

The Corvid family is really quite large and surprisingly varied, worldwide. Not all of them immediately resemble the archetypal Crow or Raven we most commonly associate with the group. Some are really quite exotic in appearance. Here, in the UK though, we have just 8 resident members of the Corvid family, the 5 True Crows that are the Raven, the Carrion Crow, the Hooded Crow, the Rook and the Jackdaw and their close relatives, the Chough, the Magpie and the Jay. These 8 species will be the main focus of this site. That said, we hope to find a room for all things Corvid, so along with articles and serious studies we’ll be adding a little fun too.

We plan to write a lot of original material ourselves and publish a number of articles written by people who have had close contact with Corvids. It seems a little pointless, however, to duplicate too much information that has been well documented elsewhere, so if the sources are reliable, of good quality and are clearly presented, we will just link to them with a brief description.

Corvid Aid

 

This site offers a how-to-guide for helping corvids in trouble, injured crows etc. You can find it here.

You can read in their own words what Corvid Aid is about,

Corvid Aid is a small, independently run corvid sanctuary. We aim to rescue and rehabilitate all corvids in need of our help. The sanctuary is based in West Yorkshire, England and is run by Vanessa Blackburn and her partner Jason Bastow.

Their about page is actually very informative and worth reading. Click on the ‘about’ link above. What an excellent cause to pursue! Thank you Vanessa and Jason for doing something to help the corvid family in the UK and by proxy around the world. You can also read an article they wrote published in the Telegraph.co.uk here.

A raven in the zoo…

Raven at the Point Defiance Zoo

 

This was very sad, a raven at the zoo. It was in a closet-sized cage. It looked thin. Ravens are big birds, twice the size of crows. So it is even sadder to see one in the cage. I know it is probably there because it was injured and needs to live with assistance but it is still sad to see a caged bird of any kind.

Rare White Ravens in Canada

Qualicum Beach, a beach and town on Vancouver Island British Columbia, is the home of some white ravens.

According to one source,

“… The birds are thought to be leucistic and not albino, the result of a genetic defect producing chicks lacking normal pigmentation.”

Another source said ravens are monogamous, life-long mates and thus would more likely mate with one of their own kinds for life. Together they would produce chicks that lack pigment as well. However it happens, it is beautiful and rare. Watch these videos for yourself and see…

Additonal Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/294246, youtube, http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Another+rare+white+raven+spotted+near+Qualicum+Beach/3236437/story.html

LISTENING TO RAVEN Solo Exhibition

 

There is an artist named Beth Surdut who specializes in the art and story of Raven. She would like to invite all those who love corvids, particularly ravens, to to her solo exhibition of intricate drawings and stories opening at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The show runs through August 9, 2010.

The Ravens of Truth and Memory © All images in this post are copyrighted by Beth Surdut. Do not copy or use any of them without her permission.

The artist, Beth Surdut, said this about the above ravens (The Ravens of Truth and Memory),

The Norse God Odin sent two Ravens out each day–one named Truth (Hugin), the other Memory (Munin). Here, Memory allows Truth to gently pick through her feathers until both birds shine.

As with The Ravens of Truth and Memory each of her raven drawings has a unique story that you can read on her blog. Each has a life beyond the paper and the pens the coloring and shading, in the imagination of those who are able to see them and read their stories.

You can also view her beautiful work on her blog http://www.surdut.blogspot.com and her website http://www.bethsurdut.com.

And a special request to all corvid lovers who have stories to share about the raven. Beth Surdut “collects raven stories of spirit and science and would delighted to share and hear from [our] readers.” You can leave your comments / stories below or you can message her personally at info@bethsurdut.com (tell her you read about her work at CorvidCorner so she knows who you are…)