Ravens vs. crows

American crow by Chris Bosak

I had an interesting sighting yesterday that cleared up some confusion in my head. (Note I said “some” confusion. There’s still plenty left up there.)

It involved crows and ravens. I often seen large black birds that are either very large crows or ravens, but I rarely get a good enough look at them to nail down an exact ID. In my own head I always err on the side of the safer species, therefore not giving myself “credit” for the more exciting sighting.

But yesterday there was not doubt that I was looking at ravens — and in a fairly urban area of Norwalk, Conn., too. I know this because crows were chasing and harassing the ravens. There were five crows chasing and dive-bombing two ravens. It was fascinating to watch as the scene unfolded over my head near the Norwalk River.

I’ve seen crows harass owls and hawks before, and I’ve seen eastern kingbirds harass crows. But I’ve never seen crows harass ravens before. It was a great lesson in the difference between crows and ravens, which can often be difficult to differentiate. With the side-by-side perspective, there was no doubt which were the ravens and which were crows.

Did I mention the racket the crows were making? That’s how I found the scene in the first place. Eventually the crows seemingly won the battle as one raven flew off to the east and the other to the west.

Mobbing crows are often a way for birdwatchers to find owls. It was interesting to see them “give away” ravens.

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About BirdCallsRadio

Host of BirdCallsRadio, airs www.birdcallsradio.com. Particular soft spot for northern maine wildlife, Advocate for wildlife.
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