Common Raven — Morning Call

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Recently, I encountered a Common Raven vocalizing. It was fairly early one morning in southern Arizona’s farm country. The raven was atop a utility pole and it sat there for a while, emitting a string of grunts, squeaks, and warbling noises.

Common Ravens have the ability to emit an enormous range of sounds. They are excellent mimics and can duplicate everything from the sound of train whistles to human speech. Ravens are also among the most intelligent of all living creatures. They’re well known for communicating with other members of their species with a kind of speech consisting of noises that other members of a band of these birds understand and respond. Evidently, that speech is quite complex and ravens can communicate some fairly sophisticated information.

I don’t know why this raven was calling so volubly. Often, one sees them in pairs. However, I did not see a companion bird in close proximity to this raven. It’s possible — even likely — that there was another raven nearby, not visible to me, and that this raven was communicating with it. Indeed, the raven may have been telling its companion that I was parked nearby — it’s not too big a stretch to believe that it might have been describing my vehicle. Or, possibly, this raven was a bachelor and was advertising for another raven to become its mate. Or, maybe, it was vocalizing just for fun.

The point is that with ravens, their immense intelligence precludes easily classifying their behavior in narrow categories. Other species call for specific purposes. A Red-winged Blackbird, for example, calls this time of year as part of its courtship ritual. But, a raven? It is sometimes anything but predictable.

Image made with a Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens+Canon RF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 1250, f10 @ 1/2000, +1 stop exposure compensation.

One Reply to “Common Raven — Morning Call”

  1. Sherry Felix says:

    I’ve read some books about Ravens. Fascinating birds. I love them.

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