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Crow or Common Raven?


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Hi all, 

I'm sure this question gets asked a lot, so please bear with me. :classic_smile: There are two very curious birds who frequently visit my house/check out our domestic Indian Runner Ducks. I've looked up the Audubon Society's bird profiles for both American Crows and Common Ravens, but am still a bit stumped. 

The birds are always either solitary or in a pair, seem to make a variety of sounds when in the trees (clicks, short "hoots," caws...) but are fairly quiet most of the time, and seem to have a long hook at the ends of their bills. All of these things make me think they're Common Ravens, but their tails appear more rounded when in flight, and my neighbors are convinced they're American Crows.

I recently played a series of calls to them from both Common Ravens and American Crows (one set of calls at a time), in the hopes they'd give a verbal response to the species that "speaks their language." Instead, I got a lot of confused/curious looks. At least I didn't offend them. :classic_laugh:

Anyways, here's a not so great picture of the bird I call "Sunny" perched on our garden fence and another of his(?) baby he and his mate ("Starla") brought by to show off this past spring.

Thanks for any help!

20181107_114354.jpg

20181107_114645.jpg

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Welcome!

Assuming that's a standard 2x4 he's perched, that bird appears too small to be an adult Raven.  I think the transition from bill to head is more abrupt in ravens.  I'm going with crow.

Also, it's very helpful if you post where you saw the bird (city or other geographic region).  That can eliminate some possibilities.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, BornToQuack said:

Thanks for the feedback! Guess Sunny and Starla are American Crows.

To answer your question @Charlie Spencer, these birds reside year-round in Portland, Oregon. I'm assuming that because this is an urban environment that crows are more likely than ravens?

The urban environment would play a part in some species.  In this case, crows are more likely to be found there than ravens, but that alone isn't enough to rule them out.

In this case, it's Oregon that's important.  If you had said a Midwestern or Southern state, we could have eliminated Common Ravens immediately; they aren't regularly found in those areas.  Contrarily, if you'd said any of the northern Canadian provinces or territories, we could rule out American Crows; they don't normally get that far north.  Both crows and ravens are found in coastal Oregon all year, so we can't use the easiest tie-breaker.

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