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Ravin' about Ravens

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by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published January 3rd 2023
Your street could be a haven for a raven
The Australian raven is a member of the corvidae family as are crows, although the term 'crow' is in general use for all the corvidae family.

Raven on fence.
Raven on fence.

They are common birds. Found throughout Australia, crows are not usually seen in the extreme south of the continent.

Two ravens.
Two ravens on fence.

The difference between a raven and a crow can only be determined by a close examination. In crows, the base of the feathers is pure white, with a line of marked division. With ravens, there is a gradual change from black to smokey grey. They are often mistaken for currawongs. Ravens have blue eyes, whereas the currawongs are yellow.

Just watching.

On my street walks I come across many ravens, often hearing them before sighting them.

Ravens calling
Ravens making crow calls.

They are usually alone or in groups. The collective noun for ravens is 'unkindness'. My observations of ravens, are that when in a flock, they land in trees, fly off and around and return to the tree. Fascinating to watch.

Ravens in the air.
Ravens in the air around trees.

An interesting scenario was watching a single raven flying around and landing in a dead tree. Even more interesting was two ravens doing the same.

Raven in silhouette.
Raven in silhouette.

Ravens in silhouette.
Two ravens in silhouette.

They do look magnificent in flight with their wings fully extended.

Ravens in flight.
Magnificent when captured in flight.

Their feeding habits almost rival seagulls eat anything. They are often sighted rummaging through rubbish bins looking for food. One photo I like is of a raven that looks like it had scored a chicken nugget.

Raven with nugget.
Raven with nugget.

Raven with nesting material.
Raven with nesting material.

Another favourite photo was a raven and a noisy miner, both perched on overhead wires with the miner giving its evil stare at the raven. Those noisy miners have no fear.

Raven and noisy miner.
Raven and noisy miner.

Speaking of evil stares, I have been subjected to several from ravens staring at me from their perch in trees. They are very evil stares.

Ravens staring.
Their evil stare.

I came across another raven having an egg for breakfast.

Raven with egg..
Breakfast time.

When disturbed, they often head for the nearest fence where they perch and offer some nice photographic opportunities.

Ravens perching.
When approached they never fly far away.

Historically, the ravens of the Tower of London are a group of nine captive ravens resident at the Tower of London. Their presence is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower; a superstition holds that "if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it." Totally untrue of course, but a quaint tradition.

Tower of London ravens.
Two of the Tower of London ravens.

The Tower of London's ravens cannot fly away, one wing is clipped enabling them to only fly for short distances.

The next time you encounter a raven, enjoy watching them and stare back at them if they stare at you.
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Why? Observing nature is always fascinating.
When: Daytime
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Magpies are indeed a nice bird. We used to have one that lived in a tall tree opposite and almost every morning as I walked into our lounge room it saw me and made a graceful glide onto our balcony rail. Unfortunately the tree was cut down.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4546) 28 days ago
Thank you Neil, for the very interesting article. Love my birds esp Magpies. Sad though, that the pesky nasty Noisy Miners bully my beautiful Magpies away. Thank you again for the information.
by summer (score: 2|473) 29 days ago
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