Bird report: Today the sneaky scrub jays tried to crowd in on the crossroad crows but the 2 crows chased them off this morning! I got the next corner and the crows (plus 1 more) had followed me for second breakfast. I toss the peanuts and a scrub jay kept coming in so I chased it away 3 times flipping it the bird* and saying “not for you!” I have officially started mad-dogging birds. My neighbors probably thing there is something really wrong with me. The scrub jay eventually ran off with one peanut but the crows got the rest.

*Yes, I know how ridiculous it is to flip the bird at a bird. I might actually need to start hanging out with actual humans.

anonymous asked:

how would one tell the difference between a crow and a raven?

You might be surprised to learn there are a lot of different species of raven and crow! The taxonomic difference between a raven and a crow (that is, whether a species gets named of or the other) is size and lifespan rather than genetic grouping. When comparing the species most of us are most familiar with  – the American crow (C. brachyrhyncos) and common raven (C. corax), which will be the two I’m focusing on here – you can’t exactly tell the bird’s age most of the time, so if you have other animals or objects to compare the bird to, size is often the first clue. 

The common raven is is massive for a passerine. It’s the size of a red-tailed a hawk, with a wingspan over four feet. Crows, on the other hand, are typically about the size of an African grey parrot. Compare someone holding a crow vs someone holding a raven:

[sources: top, bottom]

And lemme tell ya, it’s one thing to READ about how big they are, but it’s another to SEE it.

If you see a corvid in flight and can’t get a bead on its proportions, the shape of the tail and flight feathers is another good identifier. A crow’s tail is triangular or fan-shaped, while a raven’s is wedge-shaped (ie the middle tail feathers are longest). Both have well-defined primaries, but a raven’s are much deeper and tend to spread wider. Ravens tend to soar a lot, too; crows are consistent flappers. 

[sources: left, right]

Finally, if you can get a good look at the head, the differences are pretty obvious. A raven has a beak that hooks at the end and is as long as its head (or in the case of a Chihuahuan raven, longer than!) while a crow’s beak is straighter, shorter, and lighter-looking in general. Both have nasal bristles, but the shape these bristles form is different due to beak size (a raven’s often looks squared off). Crows are kinda shiny and a bit fluffy; ravens are iridescent and have a very distinctive “beard” of shaggy feathers at their throats which bristles up like hackles when they call.

[sources: top, bottom]

Finally, their voices are a bit different – a crow’s flat, high caw vs a raven’s deep, resonating kronk – but both species have a very wide range of natural vocalisations and are accomplished mimics. [This video] has some great examples of the caw vs kronk sounds.

Hope that helps! o/

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4,000 followers special post!

Jeez, that number skyrocketed within the last few days! As always, I love each and every one of you. I’m shocked that I have this many people that like and support this little blog of mine. When I started, I barely expected to get over 40 followers. Now I have 4,000 and it hasn’t even been a full year! I hope you all have a wonderful day and enjoy these preening cuties.

Thank you for being you <3