Above: Common Raven at Spruce Woods Provincial Park (photo by Lynnea Parker)
What does it look like?
The only species in Manitoba that a Common Raven is likely to be confused with is an American Crow. Ravens are much larger than crows, with heavier bills and a wedge-shaped, rather than rounded tail. The plumage is glossy black. Ravens are quite vocal and can make a variety of clucks, croaks and other calls. In addition, they love to ride air-currents around tall buildings or cliffs and frequently make barrel-rolls in flight.
Does it migrate?
Ravens are resident in Manitoba. The only kind of “migration” that it carries out are daily flights to and from communal roosting sites during the winter. It ranges far and wide from these sites.
Above: Common Raven on top of tree (photo by Rudolf Koes)
Where does it live?
After the extirpation of bison from the Prairies, the Common Raven became largely a bird of the Boreal Forest, ranging north to the tree line and beyond. In recent decades it has re-occupied its former range on the Prairies, constructing large stick-nests in tall trees or on hydro pylons.
Where can I see it?
Ravens are hard to miss while driving along our highways or at garbage dumps. In winter they are far more widespread than crows and can literally been seen anywhere.
Above: Common Raven (photo by Lynnea Parker)
In the distant past this species was heavily persecuted, but currently there are no conservation concerns for this wary and adaptable species.
Did you know?
Ravens have learned that it pays to patrol highways for roadkill. It is well worth searching out books by Bernd Heinrich on the species, for example Ravens in winter.