Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This Post Is For The Birds...!

Actually, it isn't exactly for the birds but about them, or some of them!

I've posted about the crows before and talked about how smart they are. Now's a good time to consider the raven! What's the difference between the two, you ask? That, my friends, is the topic for today. I stole...I mean, borrowed this from the folks over at KnowledgeNuts! Where else?

The Difference Between Crows And Ravens
By Debra Kelly on Saturday, December 7, 2013

At a glance, crows and ravens look like identical, big, black birds. But there are a few telltale physical signs—the raven is much, much larger than the crow, has shaggy feathers at the throat and a wedge-shaped tail opposed to the crow’s rounded tail—that allow for quick identification if you know what you’re looking for. There are also behavioral differences: Crows travel in large groups while ravens are more often seen in pairs.

The territory of the crow and the raven overlap, making it difficult to differentiate between the two species based solely on location. Physical differences are the easiest way to tell the two apart. With an average wingspan of about 1 meter (3 ft) and a body length of about one-third the wingspan, crows are much smaller than ravens. The average raven has a wingspan of about 1.2 meters (4 ft), and a body length around half of that. The body of a raven is much slenderer and sleeker, and ravens have a distinct, wedge-shaped tail. Crows have a thicker body and tails that are rounded or square-looking, without the long, central feather of a raven’s tail.

Both birds are known for being entirely black, but when a crow is going through its molting period, old feathers take on a brownish hue before they are replaced by new black feathers. Ravens have black eyes, while the eyes of a crow are actually a very dark brown.

If the birds are in a massive community, they’re crows. Crows are much more social birds than ravens, and some groups of crows can number in the millions of birds (especially in the winter months). Ravens tend to travel in mated pairs or can congregate briefly into groups if they’ve been attracted to a major food source. In the case of breeding pairs, the pair will actively chase other ravens away from their nests and out of their territory. When food (particularly a large carcass) is at stake, though, ravens have been known to team up with other area ravens to overwhelm other predators and gain access to the kill. Young birds that aren’t yet of breeding age can sometimes be seen traveling in small groups before they find their mate.

Ravens are generally more graceful in the air than crows are. Ravens will soar more than crows will, and they’ll often be seen doing somersaults and dives just for the sake of playing. Many ravens—young and older birds—will play games while they’re flying, such as dropping sticks and then diving to chase them. Pairs have even been seen playing catch with each other in mid-air.

When crows nest, both the male and the female will help build the nest. Occasionally, other young birds that haven’t reached breeding age will help older birds build their nests. It’s also not uncommon for females sitting on eggs to have food brought to them not only by their mate, but by other crows in their family group. Ravens, on the other hand, leave most of the construction work to the female. Raven nests can be much, much larger, up to 1.5 meters (5 ft) in diameter while a crow’s nest will usually only be about 15–45 centimeters (6–18 in) in diameter.

Both birds are incredibly smart and are known for their problem-solving capabilities. A crow’s ability to make tools to carry water and discourage other animals from coming near their nests is well known. Pairs of ravens will often work together to raid the nests of other birds; one will distract the adults while the other steals eggs and food.

If I had to chose a favorite bird, I reckon it would be the crow. I don't know why, but there is something about the critters I just like!

Coffee in the kitchen once again. It's supposed to warm up to the high 50's today, but I ain't betting on it!


Mamahen said...

SinceI have a phobia of birds, I would rather not be close enough to either to tell thd difference.....28° here and not getting much above freezing they say...Did you ever eat corn meal mush....i'll make extra if anyone would like some.

Sixbears said...

Ravens can live as long as a man. If you look an old raven in the eye, you see too much going on inside there. Scary smart.

texasann said...

Bubba -
Thanks for this. I often see one of the 2, and never knew how to tell the difference. And starlings, now they are smart little guys too, but scary in their huge flocks trying for the same telephone wire or tree about sunset - whoo - way too many! Remember Hitchcock's "The Birds"?

Big hugs -

linda m said...

Thank you for that information. I always wondered what the difference was. My hubby's one brother raised a crow as a pet long time again - called him Edgar Allen Crow. Supposedly he was a very smart bird. Very cold here this morning, -4 degrees. Will this cold spell never end?

Chickenmom said...

Good article, Mr. Hermit! Crows are so smart - always wanted one. Mamahen, I'll try your corn meal mush! Snowing here.

JO said...

Interesting facts. Both breeds are very smart. I have seen them chased by other birds when they come to close to their nests. I've seen crows gang up on a long horned owl and drive him away for good.

I'll bring some fresh ground coffee over we need all we can get in this cold.

BBC said...

As birds go crows and ravens are more intelligent than most birds but they are really not all that smart, compared to us.

And they can be real assholes. If you have a crow problem shoot one and hang it in the yard, the others will stay away.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
I happen to like corn meal mush! Sounds as though it's way too cold for me!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sixbears...
I didn't know they lived so long! Scary smart, I knew!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Sis...
The birds does come to mind when I see so many of them!

Didn't know that about the starlings!

Thanks, Sis, for coming over this morning!

Hey Linda...
-4? Now that is way too cold for this old man!

I always wanted a pet crow.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
Glad you liked the post!

I sure am happy you came by today!

Hey Jo...
Guess that other birds know what thieves they are, so chasing them away is in self defense!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over this morning!

HermitJim said...

Hey BBC...
I have heard that they stay away from a place where one of their own was killed!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have some big dead trees here on my place that crows (or ravens?) just love to land and sit. Sometimes the tree is just black with them. They are smart and post guards so the main flock can relax. No you went and got me thinking about Edward Allan Poe's, "The Raven".

butterbean said...

Howdy HJ,
You're right about crows being smart, my x-m-i-l had one my x-b-i-l had caught & trained to 'talk'. It had a fairly big vocabulary and was 'interviewed' by a newspaper reporter
once.. I could drive my car down the hiway & he would go berserk, but the same car could go by and he never said anything.. I accidentally killed him, when he attacked my 2 y.o. daughter, by swatting him with my Stetson hat.. I was persona-non-grata after that.. She thought more of that damn crow than my baby!!