Black-billed Magpie, Pica hudsonia LC

Black-Billed Magpie Range Map of Canada

Black Billed Magpie Range Map of Canada 

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Black Billed Magpie:

The Black-billed magpie is a member of the crow family that is native here in Canada and can be found year round in the southern portions of the Yukon Territory, most of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as the south western corner of Manitoba.  

Here it inhabits those lands that are made up predominantly of grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs that would make it suitable for grazing or browsing on. It also needs woodlands to be adjacent to the grasslands and likes to be close to water.

The forested areas are required as a place of refuge from predation and to build its nests in as their nests are relatively large and unwieldy. The grasslands, meadows, and even agricultural fields provide a platform from which they can forage for food.

The Black-billed magpie may be found at elevations up to 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) and are considered to be a non-migratory bird but it should be noted that some movements to different elevations following the breeding season and during the winter do occur and will travel distances of several hundred kilometres at these times.

Description of Black Billed Magpie

Black Billed Magpie

Black-Billed Magpie
Black Billed Magpie on Seedskadee NWR, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46837854

The only notable difference between male and female Black-billed magpies is the fact that females are about 10% smaller than males in size. Colouring of this bird consists of mainly a black bill, head, body, tail and legs. It also sports a large white patch on its belly and white on both the upper and lower portions of its wings. Those portions of its tail and wings may exhibit an amber, blue or green iridescent shimmer depending on how the light hits it.

It is a medium size bird with a long tail that takes up half of its overall length and it will range in size from 17.7 to 23.6 inches (45 to 60 cm) long, Its wingspan is about 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) across and it has a body mass of 5.1 to 7.4 oz. (145 to 210 g).

Wild male Black-billed magpies have a lifespan of about 3.5 years while females only live an average of 2 years. Because it is possible for this bird to exist to 15 years of age, these low averages indicate that young birds of the species have very high mortality rates.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Black Billed Magpie:

The Black-billed magpies is like other members of the crow family in that it is an opportunistic omnivore. They primarily forage for food on the ground eating fruit, grain, insects, insect larva, snakes, mice, and moles. But some of their foraging does occurs in trees and shrubs where they will consume the eggs and hatchlings of songbirds as they find them. Additionally, carrion (roadkill) and human garbage are also targeted.

For the agricultural community it does have the benefit of controlling insect pests like grasshoppers, cutworms, and wireworms.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Black Billed Magpie:

This bird is considered to be monogamous because a pair will stay together during the breeding season that depending upon its local will be from late March to early June. The Black billed Magpie may also maintain this bond through out their lives.

The mating period begins with a courtship display where the male flashes his wings and fans out his tail for the potential mate. From the time that the female becomes fertile till the pair incubates their eggs the female will exhibit loud calls and the male will respond to these calls by feeding her. You will also find that the male is quite vigilant in guarding his mate from other males that may be attracted by the female’s loud calls.

It takes the pair 40 to 50 days to construct a domed nest that is often located towards the top of a deciduous or evergreen tree. They may continue to use the nest in successive years and even if they don’t use the same nest they will probably nest in the same area. The nest consists of large accumulations of branches, twigs, mud, grass, rootlets, bark strips, vines, needles, and other materials, with branches and twigs constituting the base and framework. The nest will have a 23.6 to 27.24 inch (60 to 120 cm.) dome that is built by the male. While he is doing this the female in constructing the bowl of egg cup that is basically a mud cup that is lined with hair, fine roots, grasses, bark strips, and feathers to make it soft.

Defence of the structure and only the nest tree is maintained primarily by the female prior to and during the egg laying process. However, during the incubation period it is the role of the male to defend the nest as well as foraging for and feeding the female.

Only one brood of chicks are raised unless the first brood is lost early in the mating season and it is at this time that the pair may attempt to raise a second brood. However, it should be noted that should either of the sexes die during the raising of the brood. The brood will not survive.

The female will lay a clutch of greenish-gray eggs that have brown markings on them. The sub-elliptical to oval shaped eggs will be about 1.3 x 0.9 ins. (3.3 x 2.3 cm.) in size and will number from 5 to 9 eggs but the average number is 6.

Only the female incubates the eggs and it takes about 25 days for the first egg to hatch. Then the hatching progresses at a rate of about one chick per day as the eggs do not hatch all at the same time. Newborn chicks come into this world altricial in that they have no feathers and their eyes are closed.

Chicks develop quickly, they will open their eyes at about day 7 and at about 24 to 30 days (average is 27.5 days) they will have developed wing feathers large enough for flight. Both of their parents will continue to feed them in or near the nest for their first 3 to 4 weeks but by the time they are 6 to 8 weeks old they will begin to fend for themselves and will be fully independent at about 70 days.

Female’s of the species reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 but males don’t reach sexually maturity until they are 2 years or age.

Status of Black Billed Magpie:

The Black Billed Magpie Cormorant is listed as a bird of Least Concern by BirdLife International. 2017. Pica hudsonia. (amended version published in 2016) and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103727176A111465610.

Although it is a species of Least Concern it is protected un the US Migratory Bird Act but here in Canada it has no special status.

Justification for this listing comes from the facts that it has a very large range and its population seems to be stable.

Birds of prey like the Great Horned Owl. Northern Harrier. Red-Tailed Hawk. and Swainson’s Hawk are most likely to prey on young fledging magpies. While birds like the American Crow and the Common Raven are along with land based predators like weasels, mink, domestic cats, raccoons, coyotes, and red squirrels target the Black Billed Magpies eggs and juveniles while they are still in the nest.

It is believed that the Black-billed magpie roosts in dense thickets and coniferous trees in order to protect itself from predation by great horned owls and that the large dome above this magpie’s nest may also provide some protection from great horned owls and common ravens.

American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos LC

American Crow Range Map of Canada


American Crow Range Map Of Canada 

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the American Crow:

The American crow is a breeding resident in most Canadian provinces from Alberta to Quebec and is permanent resident in the southern portions of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. You will also find it permantly resides in Newfoundland and the south eastern portion of British Columbia. You will find the raven and not the American crow in the areas of tundra and rain forests of British Columbia.

It prefers a habit that is open with trees adjacent to it making parkland, farmland, orchards, and grasslands an ideal habitat. The trees are required for roosting in and for nesting it likes the crotch of a tree that is located about 24 feet (8 meters) above ground level. Studies of this crow in southwestern Manitoba shows that it’s spring to summer home range is about 1 sq. mi. (2.6 sq km) in size and from its nest it will average about 1253 feet (382 m.) in which it will forage for food.

This bird is listed as a non migratory bird but here in Canada you will find that the northern breeding population does migrate southward to a more temperate climate for the winter.

Description of American Crow

 American Crow

American Crow
 American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos -CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2310490

The American Crow is an all black bird whose feathers have an iridescent glossy shine to them. This crow has a body mass that averages about 1 pound (450 g.) but can range from 10 to 20 oz (300 to 600 g.). Physically they posse’s strong legs and toes. What this author did not know was that the inside of the mouth of juveniles is pink and that juveniles of the species also have blue eyes. Both their eyes and mouth will darken as they get older. Additional identification is that their legs, feet, and bill is black with a slight hook on the end of the bill and short stiff hairs that cover their nostrils.

Sexually males and females of the species look alike and size is not a good indicator of sex as only 20% of the males are marginally larger than their counterpart females.

Size wise this species ranges 16 to 21 inches (40 to 53 cm) in overall length and of that the tail will take up about 40% of that length. They have a wingspan that ranges from 33 to 39 inches (85 to 100 cm.) and their wing chord will measure 9.6 to 13.0 inches (24.5 to 33 cm.). The length of their bill will range from 1.2 to 2.2 inches (3 to 5.5 cm.) in length.

From a hunter’s point of view this is an annoying species in that you are sitting very quietly in your stand or on your watch and this bird will come and sit at some distance from you. Then it begins its annoying CaaW!-CaaW!-CaaW!.

It is a very vocal bird but not like other birds males and female members of the species to not have differentiating calls. Their vocabulary seems to be comprised of short, long, and sharper sounding caws that are thought to be used to call an alarm or alert to a given situation.

This bird is capable of a sound that is like a rattle and there are times that I hear a distinctive gargling sound. This gargle is made by a young crow, for what reason. I don’t know.

The life expectancy of a wild American crow is 7 to 8 years of age and the oldest wild American crow said to be 14 years and 7 months

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the American Crow:

The American crow is considered to be an omnivore because it will eat almost anything.

Its’ foraging strategies are to either walk on the ground or to walk in the branches of trees in order to pick up on food items that are in their path.

While walking on the ground they will search for food sources of opportunity like: fruits, grains, insects, insect larvae, nuts, and earthworms. But during this process they will also actively search for small animals like frogs, mice, rats, salamanders, snakes, turtles, young rabbits and worms.

While in the trees they look for and prey on the eggs and nestlings of smaller songbirds.

During the fall and winter they consume nuts from the beech tree, walnuts, and oak acorns which are opened by holding the nut under one foot and striking it with their bill to open it. Heavy-shelled nuts like the walnut are opened by flying high with it and dropping it on a hard surface. They are also a familiar sight at gut piles of bear, deer, and moose that left by hunters during the fall hunts.

The American crow rarely visits bird feeders put out by humans but it does take advantage of human garbage where ever it may be and is able to readily recognize and plunder any green garbage bag wherever it is left out.

The American crow will use short-term caches to store meat and nuts in numerous hiding spots. These may be located in a tree crevice or on the ground where the crow often covers it with leaves or other plant material.

Breeding and Reproduction of the American Crow:

The breeding period of the American crow can start as early as February and may last through to June. A mated pair will only rear a single brood in any given year but like other bird species they will try to raise a second brood if the first attempt fails early in the breeding season.

Both the male and female of the species construct a bulky stick nest which is usually located high in a sturdy evergreen or hardwood tree. The female will lay a clutch of 3 to 7 (average clutch size is 4) light green coloured eggs with brown markings.

Once laid the female will spend the next 18 days incubating the eggs and during this time the male American Crow will have to feed her while she keeps the eggs warm.

Most American crows (male and female alike) do not reach sexual maturity until they are two years of age and will stay with their parent to aid in the raising of next years’ brood.

The new borng crows are altricial and helpless at birth and require constant care. However, both parents as well as last years’ siblings the task is taken on. Fledging occurs in abour 35 days after hatching and although these youngsters are still clumsy. They will be fed and protected by family members during their first two months of life. In fact, it has been observed that parents will to feed youngsters even after they are able to find food on their own.

Status of American Crow:

The American Crow was assessed by BirdLife International in 2012 to be listed on the Red List as a species of Least Concern.

Justification for this assessment comes from their large range and the fact that the population appears to be increasing.

Predation of this species mainly occurs at the nest site where the eggs and nestlings are the targets of red-tailed hawks,

great horned owls, raccoons, humans, snakes, and domestic cats

Potential predation threats of adults are presented by great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons and eagles. They may also be preyed on by coyotes or bobcats while they are at carrion feeding sites.

Northwestern Crow, Corvus caurinus LC

Northwestern Crow Range Map of Canada

 Northwestern Crow Range Map Of Canada

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Northwestern Crow:

Here in Canada the Northwestern Crow can be found along the entire western coastline of British Columbia.

It mainly lives near but not in forested areas of coastal areas that have high tide and low tidal zones. It also like to occupy areas that are near seabird colonies and garbage dumps. However, it may also be found along large river systems for a distance of about 75 miles (120 km) inland and at elevations up to 5577 ft. (1700 m.).

This crow may also inhabit river deltas, coastal bays and coastal villages, towns and cities, as well as farmlands.

Description of Northwestern Crow

Northwestern Crow 

Northwestern Crow
Northwestern crow, Corvus caurinus - By Ianaré Sévi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7480958

This non-migrant member of the crow family ranges in length from 16.5 to 17.5 inches (41.9 to 44.5 cm) long, a wingspan of 38.9 inches (99 cm.), and a body mass of 12.0 to 15.5 oz. (340 to 440 g). It is only marginally smaller than the American crow (10% smaller) and its plumage is very similar. Because of these two factors it can only be identified by its range or by being able to make hands on body measurements of its wing chord, tail length, tarsus, and bill all of which are smaller.

Both males and female members of this bird family look alike but the male is slightly larger than the female. However, it is noted that male members of the species call more often and are more likely to attack or confront territorial intruders.Adult members of this Crow family are all black in colour and their feathers seem to exhibit a blue or violet colour when seen from different angles. The iridescent colours of their feathers are not as apparent in juveniles that are 3 to 15 months of age and the eyes of immature members are blue turning to a smoky brownish-grey colour when they reach adulthood.  

Physically, their bills are smooth and strong but when comparing them to their cousin the common raven their bills are smaller and less powerful. Their nostrils are covered with short stiff feathers and their thick black legs possess large scales on the front side only.

Once the bird has reached maturity the life expectancy of this crow rockets to that of about 12 years of age with the longest living member recorded being 17 years of age.But prior to reaching maturity, about 10 to 18% of their eggs will fail to hatch and about 8% will be lost to predation. Even after leaving the nest some of these immature birds will fall into the ocean and drown or be killed by neighboring colonies of gulls.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Northwestern Crow:

The Northwestern Crow will feed on both plant and animal material and as such is considered to be an omnivorous scavenger. Foraging on most anything that it finds you will find it feeding on fruit (especially berries), seeds, grains, nuts, insects, stranded fish, shellfish, crabs, clams, mussels, invertebrates, sand dollars, sea urchins, snails, amphibians, reptiles, and searching in garbage bins and landfill sites for human refuse. Hard shelled pray is broken open by dropping them on hard surfaces while in flight. Also, it is not above raiding another birds' nest (like the Peregrine Falcon and Cormorant) to eat its eggs or hatchlings.

A portion of its diet is made up from carrion like dead fish, dead seals, dead birds, roadkill and dead insects taken from the grill of a vehicle.

Foraging activity may consist of walking along shore lines, digging in the sand of beaches for clams, probing the ground of inland fields for grubs and wading in shallow tide pools or on mudflats.

This crow has been observed caching some of its’ acquired food in vegetation and amongst rocks although this practise seems to happen at the start of the mating season during high tides. Reasoning for this behavior is that this cached food is to be used with in the next 24 hours and will be given to either the incubating female mate and or the hatchlings.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Northwestern Crow:

Being a bird of opportunity, the female member of the species chooses the nesting site. Mostly in coastal tidelands that are located near coniferous woodland or a forest’s edge. Nests are build either on the ground under a rock, bush, or fallen tree. Or, it may also nest in the crotch of a tree or shrub 8.2 to 19.7 ft. (2.5 to 6 m.) in the air, with its location being determined mostly by the landscape in which it nests. The nest is constructed of twigs and may be lined with a mixture of cedar bark, moss, sheep’s wool, grass, and gull or crow feathers.

At 0.0008 mi² (.002 km²), the nesting territory of the Northwestern Crow is very small and nests could be as close as 14.4 ft. (4.4 m). But, never the less, it is defended from all other adults, unrelated yearlings, and even some related youngsters mainly by the male of the species.

It is not known when this crow forms into breeding pairs, but it is thought to be in their second year, prior to the mating season and there is no known courtship display.

The Northwestern Crow does at times employ a system of cooperative breeding where the mated pair keeps one of their offspring from the last breeding season. This helper so to speak aids the male in protecting the nesting territory, hiding food, and at times will gather food for the nestlings. Breeding pairs of Corvus caurinus mate and build their nests in the months of early February to late March and most pairs lay their first clutch of 3 to 6 eggs (avg. is 4) at the end of April. Normally only one light blue coloured egg with brown spots and weighing about 6.3 oz. (17.8 g.) is a is laid each day. The texture of the egg is smooth with a slightly glossy surface and their size is about 1.58 in. (40 mm.) long by 1.1 in. (28 mm) wide.The female starts to incubate its clutch somewhere between the 2nd to 3rd egg laid. This bird will nest a second time if the original nest is disturbed early in the mating season. Otherwise it only mates once a year.

The female has the sole responsibility of incubating the eggs and she will only leave the nest to defend the nest, drink, preen herself, defecate, or be fed by her mate. This time off the nest only amounts to about 18.5 minutes per day and the rest of the time shesits on the eggs. It takes her about 18.3 days of sitting before her clutch of eggs will begin to hatch.

During these 18 days the female will beg for food and the male will feed her about 1.4 times each hour, either on or off the nest.

The altricial young come into this world weighing in at 5.3 oz. (14.9 g) and their development is rapid. By day 5 their eyes begin to open and by day 9 their eyes are wide open with a blue iris present. At four weeks of age they will weigh about 10.6 oz. (300 g.) and it is about now that the chicks will leave the nest for good as they typically leave the nest 29 to 35 days after hatching.

At this point in time, the chicks of crows that have nested in trees or shrubs will stay in nearby trees or shrubs but chicks of crows that nested on the ground will make their way to trees or shrubs that are close at hand and climb up into them. In both cases the chicks will stay there and will test their wings flying short distances while their parents are away.

These short flights will continue over the next 10 to 14 days at which time they will extend their range to nearby territories.  They begin exploring nearby territories between 10 and 14 days after leaving the nest and begin feeding themselves as early as 55 days after hatching.

In total the parents of the Northwestern crow feed their young for a total of 77 days from the day they hatched.

Status of Northwestern Crow:

The American Crow was assessed by BirdLife International in 2012 to be listed on the Red List as a species of Least Concern.

Justification for this listing was because it has a very large range, its population appears to be on the rise and it in general has a large population.

The primary cause of adult death is considered to be from sport hunting, disease will also take a few, and the availability of food will play a large role in controlling population sizes. 


Known predators of this species are Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, Short-eared Owls, Long-eared Owls, Northern Goshawks, Cooper's Hawks, Bald Eagles, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Domestic Cats, Domestic Dogs, Raccoons, Garter Snakes and large sea birds.

This bird has an antipredator adaption of cooperatively attacking or harassing potential predators in what is called a mob in order to protect its young. In this adaptation attacking a formidable predator could be considered potentially fatal for a single individual but when done collectively in a group the chances of a fatality or injury is greatly depreciated and goes a long way to ensuring survival of the species.

Common Raven, Corvus corax LC

Comon Raven Range Map of Canada

Common Raven Range Map Of Canada 

Original map of canada: By Nzeemin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Modified By: Canada-Hunts.ca

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Common Raven:

This all black Corvid can be found in any region of Canada with the exception of south-eastern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, and south-western Manitoba. Also called the Northern Raven, the Common Raven is the largest and most widely dispersed member of the crow family. Within the Common Raven grouping eight subspecies of this bird are recognized with little variation in their appearance occurring between them.   

This corvid can live in a wide array of environments and are found in the arctic tundra regions, taiga regions that consist of swampy coniferous forests, deserts, grassy plain savannas, forests, tangled shrub and th

orny brush chaparrals, and forested mountainous regions.

Despite these varied habitats it does have a particular liking to wild wooded areas that have large extents of open land nearby, or a coastal area in which it will nest and feed. Unlike their cousin the common crow this bird does not tend to frequent areas of human development.

Description of Common Raven

Common Raven 

Raven
 

Common raven, Corvus corax - By Diliff - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26413439

Both male and female adult common ravens are alike in appearance except that males are larger than females. This large non-migratory member of the crow family has a large heavy slightly curved black beak that measures 2.2 to 3.3 in. (5.7 to 8.5 cm.) along the upper ridge of its bill. They also have long thick unkempt brownish-grey feathers (called hackles) at the throat and above its beak, a tapered tail that measures 7.9 to 10.4 ins. (20 to 26.3 cm.) long and the iris of their eyes are dark brown.

This mostly black iridescent corvid will range in length from 21 to 26 inches (54 to 67 cm.) long with an average of 25 in. (63 cm.). It has a wingspan that ranges from 45 to 51 inches (115 to 130 cm.) across and has a body mass of 1.5 to 4.4 lbs. (0.69 to 2 kg) with the average being 2.6 lb. (1.2 kg.). This makes Corvus corax one of the heaviest perching birds.

Occasionally white ravens are found in the wild and for most of those that occur in British Columbia they don’t have pink eyes that a true albino does. White ravens of BC are mostly leucistic in that they have a partial loss of pigmentation that makes they appear to be white, pale in colour, or have a patchy colouration.

Despite their size and weight, the common raven is just as agile in flight as their relatives the crow.Ravens in flight can be identified from crows by their more wedge-shaped tail, large wing area, and they have a more stable gliding - soaring style of flight.

The raven has mental capabilities like those of solving puzzles, remembering individual faces, planning ahead, and keeping track of another raven’s social status not only within its group but within other groups. This has lead the scientific community to testing its unusual intelligence.

The voice of a raven has a distinct deep and full tone that can consist of a deep croak. Possibly developed from its great intelligence level is a large vocabulary that consists of 15 to 30 categories of speech in which it is able to communicate alarms, chases, flight, comfort, territory and food location. These forms of vocalization take the form of not only its notable croak but also knocks, clicks, rattles, pops and grating sounds. In addition to its great vocabulary is an ability to mimic the sounds of animals around them, including that of human speech.

Wild common ravens have a long-life expectancy of 10 to 15 years of age with the longest known wild raven being 23 years and 3 months old.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Common Raven:

The common raven is a omnivore of opportunity that may hunt or scavenge food according to its local, season, and chance encounters as to what it eats or presents itself as a meal. 

For example, those ravens that forage in tundra may obtain about half their energy requirements from the predation of small rodents and the other half by scavenging caribou and ptarmigan carcasses. A raven may raid the food caches of other mammals like the Arctic fox. In other locals they mainly scavenge carrion and feed not only on the carcass but also the maggots and carrion beetles that accompany the carcass. To this point, they sometimes associate the grey wolf as a source of food and follow it in order to scavenge wolf-kills in the winter. Ravens are also regular predators at bird nest sites and will boldly take eggs, nestlings and sometimes adult birds when given an opportunity.

Their ability to survive as a species comes from their varied diet that may consist of insects, crustaceans, spiders, centipedes, small invertebrates, frogs, toads, and salamanders, turtles, snakes, lizards,small mammals, young birds, birds’ eggs, cereal grains, acorns, berries, fruit, food waste, but carrion constitutes the main item in its diet.

Initially one may think that small birds would be a target for this bird to prey on but even larger birds like the Canada Goose, Cinnamon teal, Harris's hawk, Short-eared owl, and the Common nighthawk are on its short list.

Examination of the stomach contents of ravines has shown researchers that the ravens’ food sources in order of importance are from the flesh of mammals, then insects, followed by birds.

 

This corvid will store surplus food items and make sure that another raven does not see where it was hidden. Food items may consist of nuts, eggs, and or meat items will choose items seeming to be those that contain fat.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Common Raven:

There is not much data on how the common raven forms its breeding bond. It is thought that juvenile ravens begin to court each other at an early age but do not bond for an additional two to three years. What is known is that potential pairs will exhibit displays of aerial acrobatics and paramount on the agenda is a demonstrated ability to provide food with these displays being most prevalent in the fall and winter.

Breeding of bonded pairs begins in the months of February and March only if the pair has a nesting territory. The size of the territory will vary according to the availability of food within it. Both the territory and its food supply are actively defended by both members of the bond from other ravens. This mated pair will stay together to raise their brood of chicks and it is thought by some that they will stay together for life.

Following a mating display that consists of posturing, mutual preening and beak caressing. The pair will construct a nest in a large tree or on the edge of a steep rock face. The pair may build a new nest or rebuild one from last year's nest. Using sticks and twigs they will shape the bowl and then they will line it with bark, moss, mud and soft matter such as deer fur.

At a rate of one egg per day, the female will lay a clutch of 3 to 7 blue-green coloured eggs (the average is 5) that also have semi transparent mud brown spots. These spots can at times be dense enough to make one believe that the egg actually has a brown ting to it.

The role of the male at this point is to provide food for the female while she alone incubates the clutch of eggs for a duration of 20 to 25 days. Although large birds like eagles, hawks, and owls will prey upon eggs or hatchlings of the raven it is not a common occurrence. This is in part due to its large size and intelligence. The same is true for potential threats from mammals like the martin or dog.

Chicks are altricial at birth and at this point the role of both parents is to care and feed the hatchlings who will remain in the nest over the next 5 to 6 weeks. During time of food shortages, it is common for the smallest member of the brood to perish. After fledging these youngsters will remain with their parents for several weeks during which time they will continue to be fed by their parents and investigating their environment. Even at this early stage of life these young ravens can be observed caching both edible and non-edible items.

Most times these fledglings will stay with their parents for six months at which time they will disperse up to 20 miles from their birth place. They may also join flocks of other young birds and stay with them till they are about 3 years of age and it is their turn to mate.

Status of Common Raven:

The Common Raven was assessed by BirdLife International in 2014 to be listed on the Red List as a species of Least Concern.

Justification for this listing was because it has a very large range, its population appears to be on the rise and it in general has a large population.

Because of its large size and its ability to develop good defensive strategies. The Common Raven has few predators in the wild. Of those that exist Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red-Tailed Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Great Horned Owls are birds that are most commonly cited. As far as mammals go, Cougars, Coyotes, Lynx and Martins are cited.

In any situation of predation, it is predictable that the raven will be zealous and in most cases successful in defending its young against any potential attack of its eggs or hatchlings. Defence is most often done by flying at the potential threat and poking at the attacker with their large bills. Another form of defence may involve the dropping of rocks or stones on their attacker.

 

  • References

    Black-Billed Magpi

    © Encyclopedia of Life – Source: http://eol.org/pages/268782/detail

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors - Source: Animal Diversity Web

    © NatureServe - Source: NatureServe

    © Wikipedia - Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-billed_magpie

    © IUCN Red List – Source: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/103727176/0

    © Wikipedia – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-billed_magpie

    American Crow

    © Encyclopedia of Life - Source: http://eol.org/pages/1177464/details

    © Smithsonian Institution:

    © NatureServe - Source: NatureServe

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors - Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog 

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors - Source: Animal Diversity Web

    © SPIRE project - Source: SPIRE

    © Wikipedia – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_crow 

    Northwestern Crow

    © Encyclopedia of Life - Source: http://eol.org/pages/1177473/details

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, Source: Animal Diversity Web

    © NatureServe, Source: NatureServe

    © SPIRE project. Source: SPIRE

    © The Breeding Biology Of The Northwestern Crow by Robert W. Butler, Nicolaas A. M. Verbeek, and Howard Richardson

    © Wikipedia – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwestern_crow

    Common Raven

    © Encyclopedia of Life – Source: http://eol.org/pages/1177364/details

    © Wildscreen - Source: ARKive

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors - Source: Animal Diversity Web

    © NatureServe - Source: NatureServe

    © The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors - Source: BioKIDS Critter Catalog 

    © SPIRE project - Source: SPIRE

    © Wikipedia – Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_raven


Background Images

  • Black Billed Magpie - By Ron Knight (Flickr: Black-billed Magpie) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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