Thursday, November 17, 2016

Common Raven

This Common Raven greeted us in a parking lot in West Yellowstone, Montana, on 23 September 2016. We detoured south from Belgrade and I-90 to spend the morning with Erika’s sister and her husband. They were excited about seeing a “huge” owl feeding near Lake Yellowstone, so that was our goal. My brother-in-law and I rode in our car, while Erika and her sister visited in theirs.

Ravens and people have had a long and often contentious relationship. For better or worse, ravens are an integral part of human cultures. The authors cited below write, “It is difficult to imagine any other bird being associated with so much myth, mystery, and misinformation.”

Ravens, the largest of the passerines, are widespread around the world. Ravens followed Bison herds in the Great Plains, but are now largely absent there. On the other hand, this corvid is reestablishing itself in the forests of eastern North America. In other areas Ravens are considered pests that eat crops and young livestock, resulting in eradication programs. Other raven populations have declined so drastically that people have tried to reintroduce them. Ravens have been implicated in the decline of several endangered species, including California Condors and Least Terns (Boarman and Heinrich 1999).

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