The Common Raven

A Common Raven at Yosemite National Park

Ravens and Crows both belong in the same taxon, Corvus, it’s easy to run into them just as it’s easy for an amateur to find no distinction between them. In the West Coast of the United States (Washington State, Oregon, and California) the American Crow and Common Raven are the ones you are likely to run into.

“Common Ravens can mimic other birds, and when raised in captivity can even be taught words.”
Common Raven image taken during my summer trips to Yosemite National Park

I take frequent trips to Yosemite National Park, and if you have gone there, you will surely find huge black birds sweeping over you and roosting over the pine branches while you take your usual hike or walk down lower Yosemite Falls. You will notice their coarse calls, and see that some have an edgy hairstyle at the curve of their head, these are not crows, they are Common Ravens!

I recorded one raven taunting another raven as shown in the image below

On my recent trip to Yosemite, I found their behavior interesting. In the summer, they keep their distance in the trees. In the snow, these guys are not shy of waiting to see if you will drop a crumb or two.

In the winter, the common raven looks darker, this might be due to contrast of the snow

What to look forward on your next trip to Yosemite

Ravens! You will find them everywhere, but if you want to get a good view, I suggest a really good zoom in lenses for images, binoculars, and no distractions! Am I asking you to become a birdwatcher? I AM!

“Ravens are very good at utilizing human-altered landscapes and have aggressively expanded their range across the country, including into Yosemite.”

Shy but one of the Biggest

Although not as social as crows, you’re most likely to find ravens in the outskirts, and like crows and hawks, they can be found near the roadside keeping an eye for roadkill. If you’re looking for the largest Raven out there, the Thick-billed Raven in East Africa and the Common Raven found all over the world fall as one of the biggest.