The weather is slowly turning colder, you may even be tempted to say “winter is coming,” like the famous line in Game of Thrones. So if you are an avid fan of the television series, you may also be excited when you see the Common Raven. Although these blackbirds are highly intelligent, they are not likely carrying messages from Westeros (the world within the George R.R. Martin inspired series).
In fact, Ravens are often confused with the American Crows because they are both dark, squawking birds. However, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, ravens are at least 22 inches in size, are more slender than crows with a “thick neck, shaggy throat feathers and a Bowie knife of a beat.” They do not fly in flocks, and you usually would only see them by themselves or in a pair.
The American Crow, on the other hand, is 17 inches in size, and has a distinct cawing voice. They are larger than the average blackbird with a straight bill (beak) and broad wings that spread like fingertips. They fly in flocks and are very social animals. They are an aggressive species that has been often found chasing away larger predatory birds, such as hawks, owls and herons. Both species of birds are extremely intelligent, some may even say the smartest of all birds. Ravens are found to be smart enough to solve complicated problems during various studies conducted by scientists, according to Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The Common Raven and American Crow are said to be a smart predator that uses skills of deception and distraction to steal bird eggs or chicks. Ravens even wait until a ewe gives birth and then attacks the newborn lamb. However, an American Crow is not able to pierce through an animal’s skin, so consuming a carcass is not its specialty unless there is an open wound or “they wait for the carcass to decompose and become tender enough to eat,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The research site also found that the “the oldest known wild Common Raven lived to be 17 years old, while the oldest recorded wild American Crow lived to be 16 years old. It also found that a captive crow that died in New York lived to be 59 years old.”
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