Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Other Big Bird in Yellowstone

Most people when they think of Yellowstone and large birds immediately think of the Bald Eagle or the Tundra Swan.  However, probably one of the most common large birds in Yellowstone is the Common Raven.  It can be seen soaring at the higher elevations  Raven flight June 11, 2010 NIKON D300Sand in the fields at low elevations.  I had observed a grizzly bear chasing a Raven away from its food.  The ravens in Yellowstone are used to people, and it some locations will come begging for food.
The Common Raven is a large, all-black passerine bird. Found across the northern hemisphere it is the most widely distributed of all corvids.  A mature Raven can be up to 25 inches in length and up to 2.6 pounds in weight.  In some locations, the Raven has become so numerous that it's considered a pest.  Part of the success comes from its omnivorous diet.
 DSC_6986 October 07, 2009 NIKON D300
On a previous visit this Raven perched on my car looking for handouts
The ravens have been known for feats of problem-solving leading to the belief that it's highly intelligent.   Over the centuries it has been the subject, both of mythology, folklore, art and literature.  One of the most famous poems is Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" 
It can be identified from crows by having a larger and heavier, black beak, shaggy feathers around the throat and above the beach, and he wedged-shaped tail.
Common Raven -Corvus corax
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Common Raven -Corvus corax

An interesting fact, that in the Bible, the Raven was the first animal to be released from Noah's Ark. "So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground." Genesis 8:6-8 NKJV