Ravens

Corvus corax

Raven track drawing by Kim A. Cabrera. Copyrighted. No commercial use without prior approval of the artist.
3 11/16 - 4 15/16 in. L x 1 3/4 - 2 1/16 in. W

Raven Track

Right foot

 

Natural History of Ravens

Ravens are corvids, relatives of crows. They are black birds that have large, heavy bills.

These large birds are commonly heard calling in the forest. Some of their calls sound like screams. Other calls sound like deep croaks or hollow knocking sounds. Ravens have a variety of calls. Some of the calls don't sound like birds at all.

Ravens will chase red-tailed hawks. I once saw two ravens chase a bald eagle away from a salmon carcass they were feeding on. The eagle was much bigger, but the ravens had larger numbers.

 

Raven photo by Kim A. Cabrera. Copyright 2007. Do not use without permission.

This is the largest perching bird. They can be identified in flight by the wedge-shaped tail. The tail of a crow is more squared off than that of a raven.

These intelligent birds will raid food left on camp tables, and usually eat whatever they can find. They will eat carrion, insects, small animals, and fish. They have been known to feed at garbage dumps. They also will readily get into trash cans and dumpsters. If food is left out, or if a bit of a garbage bag protrudes from under the lid, a raven will be able to pull it out. They are very intelligent this way.

 

 

   
These tracks show the structure of the raven's foot. The bottom of a raven foot has a granular or pebbly texture, similar to that of turkeys and other birds. This probably gives them some traction for gripping branches. Their toes have joints and are very flexible to allow them to grip things. The middle toe doesn't point exactly forward. It points inward slightly. You can use this feature to tell the raven's right track from its left track.

Raven tracks in mud. Eel River near Redway, California. February 2001. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera.

   

Raven trail in sand. Redwood National Park near Orick, California. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera.

Their tracks resemble very large Steller’s jay tracks, often up to four inches long. They show three toes facing forward and one toe facing backward. In loose sand, there is often a long drag mark left by the middle toe. Like other ground-dwelling birds, their prints are one after the other in a straight line. (Birds that are primarily tree-dwellers leave paired prints.)
   

Raven Scats

 

 

A scat from a raven. The whitish material is commonly found on bird scats.

Raven scat, photo by Kim A. Cabrera. 2007.

Raven scat. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera 2007.

Raven scat and uric splatter. This was found on the edge of the river.
Raven scat with pebbles clinging to it. It was collected from a river bank where there was coarse sand and rock.

Raven scat. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera 2007.

Raven scat. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera 2007.

A nice raven scat found on the river bank. Whitish material is uric material, commonly found in bird scat.
   
Raven scat with white uric material. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Raven scat coated with uric material

   

Raven scat. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Raven scat composed of unknown dietary material.
   
A raven scat with white uric material. Seeds are visible in this scat. Raven scat with seeds. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
   
raven splat and tracks
Raven tracks and splat on my truck
 
raven pellet

In addition to scats, ravens produce cough pellets. These contain the materials that do not pass through the bird's system. In the pellet above, you can see pieces of plastic wrap that the raven got into in the garbage. They often eat out of garbage cans.

 
right track of a raven

Beautiful right track of a raven in mud. notice how the center toe points inward. This track was made by the right foot.

 
right raven track
A perfect right track in dusty soil
 
raven feeding sign

Raven feeding sign on a river bar. After high water recedes, new flotsam is left behind. The ravens search through the debris and find any edible items. Often, they will turn over pieces of wood or rocks in their search for food. In this photo, a small piece of bark has been moved.

 
 
Raven tracks criss cross on sand. Photo copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Raven tracks criss-crossing on the sand of a river bar.

   

Raven tracks. Photo by Kim A. Cabrera 2007.

Raven tracks in coarse sand along a river.

 

Raven track showing appearance of middle toe. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Raven track showing appearance of middle toe. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Two raven tracks. One from each foot. Note that the middle toe points toward the inside of the line of travel.
The right foot's middle toe points to the left, and the left foot's middle toe points to the right.
 

Raven in flight. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A raven in flight. Notice the wedge shape to the tail. This helps you identify ravens vs. crows. Crow tails are straight across, not diamond or wedge shaped.
 

Raven on top of snag tree. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A raven perched atop an old snag tree. Ravens will often sit like this and call for a long time.
 
Raven track. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.
The raven's claw left a long drag mark ahead of this left foot track.
 
Raven tracks. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

A pair of raven tracks found in sand. These two tracks came from different ravens though. Notice that the left and right feet are switched. This is because two birds walked past this same point, leaving side-by-side tracks. Trackers have to pay attention to the trails they are following because things like this happen a lot.

 
Raven tracks. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.
Another raven track showing a long drag mark ahead of it from the claw.
 
Raven tracks. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.

A nice set of raven tracks showing the typical trail pattern. The long appearance of the claw is only due to dragging, not to the actual size of the claw!

 
Raven track. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.
A left raven track showing a drag mark from the hind claw.
 
raven left foot
The left track of a raven in firm mud
 
raven right track
A right track in sand
 
raven tracks on truck
Raven tracks on the hood of my truck
 
raven track pair
Pair of raven tracks in perfect mud. Great details can be seen in these!
 
claw drag marks
This raven wandered around in a coastal sand dune, leaving the typical drag marks from its claws in the sand.
 
raven claw marks
Nice claw marks from a raven's feet in a coastal sand dune
 
raven track right foot in mud
The beautiful right track of a raven in mud
 
left raven track
Beautiful left foot track of a raven in mud near the river
 
Raven. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2009.
This raven took its own photo when it walked past a trail camera mounted on a tree.
 

Personal Notes on Ravens

ravenThe ravens at the park I work at are known for raiding campground picnic tables. They love shiny objects and will pick up pieces of foil and fly off with them. I have seen ravens attacking their own reflections in shiny stovepipes. The stovepipes have to be painted black to stop the ravens from sitting on the roof all day pecking at the stovepipe! They will also peck at their reflections in car mirrors.

I enjoy photographing ravens. They are such beautiful birds!
 
Some of my photos of Ravens
raven side
Side view of a raven showing the large beak
 
raven in tree
Raven perched in a tree
 
raven side view
A raven on a rock outcrop
 
sunset raven
Raven in sunset light
 
raven on stick
Raven on the top of a BBQ. Looking for snacks?
 
raven back
Look at those beautiful black feathers!
 
raven on rock
Ravens are very handsome birds
 
raven showing foot
I zoomed in to show the raven's foot structure
 
raven hunting for food
A raven looking for food in the grass
 
raven in flight
Raven in flight
 
raven in grass
Raven hunting in grass
 
ravens taking flight
Ravens taking flight
 
 
 
 
 
 

Find raven posters, greeting cards, t-shirts, hats, and more in my new store.

Visit Beartracker's Nature Store at: www.dirt-time.com   Happy tracking!!

What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's animal tracks coloring book, T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!

 

Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*

 

Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.

Get Every Child Outdoors (Get E.C.O.) - My shop dedicated to nature and getting kids interested in nature and the outdoors.

Sales from all stores give commissions to Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, which helps keep this site online as a free service. We are celebrating ten years online this year!

 

 

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Got a raven story? E-mail me and tell me about it.

tracker777@hotmail.com

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Copyright 1997, 2009, 2013. Text, photos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera

Page updated: June 25, 2013.

Copyright 1997, 2009, 2012, 2013. Text, drawings, and photos by Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design