Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dare To Compare - Raven & Crows In Dogfight

For a week or so, these three American Crows have been nesting in the woods adjacent to our house. They go back and forth, south to north along the shore line in search of material. Occasionally, I see them mobbing a Raven. The aerial combat which ensues is a dramatic dogfight.  This morning, I heard the Blue jays making a tremendous racket in the trees. That's always a sign that something really interesting is about, like a hawk or an eagle. I rushed out in my bathrobe, of course, to investigate. I could hear them, but not see them. Then I heard the crows join in. This meant that whatever was going on was BIG news for them to all join together to mob a threat. There was a magnificent cacophony of screaming, screeching, and cawing. This was punctuated with a Raven's "cronk, cronk." I thought, "Ah ha! This may be my lucky day! I'll get to photograph those crows dive-bombing a Raven!" And, sure enough, they all came zooming by. I could see that the Raven had some food item and that's what all the fuss must have been over. Close examination of the photographs revealed that the Raven had a rodent of the rat variety, or possibly a Red squirrel. I have heard the Raven in the trees in the same area where the crows are nesting. That's where it was headed with its furry morsel. I'm wondering if it also has a nest in those woods. So, I'm going to have to investigate that, but not in my bathrobe.

American crows are about 17" long. The Common raven is larger at around 24". These shots show the identifying difference in tail shape, as well. The crow's tail is straighter across the end. Ravens have more distinct wing 'fingers' and thicker bills. Double click on the image to the right and you'll see the rodent screaming for help.


  1. Crows/Ravens (and some other Corvids) are the most agile fliers of all birds. It must have been a good show.

  2. Truly and verily...a fine Easter story....

  3. Edgar Alan Poe would be proud of your photos.

  4. RRR - If I ever get reincarnated, I "truly and verily" don't want to come back as (1) an alewife or (2) a small rodent. An eagle, yup. An osprey, yowsa! A lion, sure - great fun taking down those hapless wildebeests; but a ground squirrel, a prarie dog or some tasty little morsel - no way!

    Anyway, that's a great shot of the raven with the furry little critter in its beak!

    El Jefe

  5. Great photos--what a show! Happy Easter!Kristen

  6. Wonderful photos Robin!

    I love crows. And you have captured the cpoparison between the crow and the raven wonderfully.

    Connie Jones

  7. Thank you, Connie. Personally, I've never seen photos of ravens and crows together in flight, only picking together at the dump!

  8. WOW, love the closeup shot of the Raven with the mouse! Also love the comparison shots too.

    Funny thing, I saw a Raven Friday morning at Small Point near the Hermit Island campground.

    Also, male and female Osprey repairing nest on power pole today on Berrys Mill Road.

  9. These are great! Behavior is fascinating-- more exciting than lists or firsts or ID quandaries.

  10. The crow and raven pictures are an excellent teaching resource. My fathers description of a raven was "a crow with laryngitis".
    The pictures of the painted turtles brought back a flood of memories. I have been canoeing beaver ponds and other flat water since 1946.
    Two great blogs and I enjoyed them very much.

  11. GREAT Photos, what a camera you must have, I also saw your blog last week about the canoeist and his dog, next time you see someone stupid as that call the warden I heard that it is ILLEGAL to be in the water right now without a life vest.

  12. If it isn't illegal, it certainly should be considering that it puts other who would conduct a rescue at terrible risk.

  13. Hi Robin(s).....Happy spring and Easter to you too! You photos are just amazing. I may now know how to distinguish a Crow from a Raven. I also get a kick out of your writeups, though sometimes wonder if they should be pg or r!

  14. Really great blog about the crow-raven dogfight over a mouse! Absolutely amazing photos. And we thought the Blue Angels were cool- they didn't have a mouse dangling, did they?????
    Ms. Boo

  15. Fantastic shots; my hips hurt from watching the mouse getting squeezed

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  17. Robin, the raven with red squirrel is fabulous, a cruel beauty kind of thing.

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