Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Difference Between Crows and Ravens

I have been wanting to write about this topic for a long time, mostly because of my fondness for crows and ravens. Not only are they beautiful, but they are very intelligent as you will discover from this blog. What is the difference between Crows and Ravens?

Many people use the terms 'raven' and 'crow' interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Technically, since ravens belong to the crow (corvus) family of birds, they can be called crows - but not all crows are ravens. The two differ in a variety of ways.

Size First. Most noticeably, ravens are larger than crows. They are (on average) about the size of a hawk, where crows are approximately the size of a pigeon. A raven can be up to 64 cm in height, a crow’s height ranges up to 46 cm.

Call. If you're familiar with the call which crows make, you'd probably recognize the raven's call as being different. Crows have a more nasal, higher pitched call, where a raven's call is lower, and hoarser... almost a croaking sound. And if you have listened to the cries of both the birds, you will know that a crow’s sound is more irritating than that of ravens. A raven has the capability to imitate certain sounds as well.  If you want to hear the difference for yourself, click here for a raven's call and crow's call.

Tail feathers

Crows have a very fan-shaped tail, where raven's tails have more of a wedge-shape to them. This isn't very easy to tell if the bird is sitting on the ground, but when flying overhead, you can often get a good look at the shape of the tail.

Feather shape

Ravens' feathers are also a slightly different shape than crows' feathers. Crow feathers tend to be more rounded at the tip, while ravens have feathers which are slightly pointed. This is most noticeable on the breast feathers, especially when the bird fluffs itself up. The feathers on the crow's breast lie comfortably against each other and provide a nice, even, rounded covering. The feathers on a raven lie a little more jaggedly, and when a raven fluffs up, its breast tends to look ragged. In fact, when a raven really fluffs up and all its feathers look like they're standing on end, the raven appears to have a short fluffy mane (called a 'ruff'). Raven’s feathers are shiny and have a tint of purple when the sun rays fall on it. But crows have plain black feathers which can also have lighter markings on them.


Ravens and crows can often be found living side by side in the same areas, but where there's a choice, Ravens prefer wilder areas while crows will live quite close to cities. The bigger the city, the less likely ravens will make it their home -- and when they do, they tend to live in or near parks and natural spaces. You can find crows in your garden, neighboring places, electric lines, and even in highly bustling places. But ravens cannot be found like that. They like solitude and privacy and hence are found in the woods and hills where human population is less or nil. Crows, on the other hand, are more likely to live near buildings, and will venture farther into human developments to compete for food.

There are more differences between crows and ravens, including their social habits and life span While a crow lives up to 8 years, a raven can live up to 30 years.

Food Habits

The food habits of ravens and crows also are different. When crows scavenge for fruits, vegetables, and other foods in groups, ravens hunt solitarily. So crows are never the friends of a farmer as it destroys the crops. That's why many farmers and gardeners put up the well known 'scarecrow' in there fields.Though both birds are omnivorous and scavenge on carrion, ravens feed more on the carrions, especially sheep.


Though parrots are very smart, they aren’t the only birds with brains. Members of the corvid family – jays, crows and ravens – are extremely smart too.

Corvids can remember, analyze, innovate and problem solve. They even use tools. In every case, ravens shine. They are one of the most intelligent birds on earth, persistent and innovative in solving problems and known to outwit other critters, a feat which earned them human tributes as tricksters and gods. Ravens even play.

The Common Raven is an acrobatic flier, often doing rolls and somersaults in the air. One bird was seen flying upside down for more than a half-mile. Young birds are fond of playing games with sticks, repeatedly dropping them, then diving to catch them in midair.

There are more differences between crows and ravens, but these are the key points. They should help you determine whether the bird you're looking at is a raven or just a very large crow.

In Summary

1. Crows and ravens differ in the size and ravens are bigger.

2. Ravens have a purple shiny tint on the feathers when sunrays fall on them, while crows have plain dark feathers.

3. The life spans of crows are very less compared to that of ravens.

4. Crows scavenge in groups while ravens hunt in solitude.

5. Crows can be found among the dwellings of humans, but ravens prefer to stay away in the hills and woods.

I want to do another blog at some future time, to share with you more information on how smart Crows and Ravens really are. It is truly amazing. Until then......

This is Raven-as the crow flies!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February - An Anniversary Month!

February 2, 2011 will mark the first year anniversary when Raven's Delights began.

You may recall the first blog gave helpful information on how to identify healthful fruits and vegetables by their number code. Hopefully that has been a benefit to you.

The birth of this blog has been an interesting adventure which much of the credit, if not all, goes to Sparrow and Swallow, who encouraged me to "get out of the box", and try my hand at blogging. It had an appeal to me and of course the rest is history.

One of my quests with the creation of this blog, was to find out how each month of the year got it's name.

When I searched my past blogs for the month of February, to my surprise, I neglected to accomplish this task for the month of February, 2010. So to honor this goal, on the month I started this blog, February, a year ago, I will meet my objective this anniversary month by telling all how February got it's name.

February Facts

February is the second month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is used in almost all the world today. It is also the shortest month.

According to legend, the first calendar of the ancient Romans had only 10 months. But in about 700 B.C., the ruler Numa Pompilius added January and February. February became the last month of the Roman year.

The month takes its name from the Latin word februare, meaning to purify. The Romans purified themselves in February to prepare for festivals at the start of the new year. Later, the Romans moved the beginning of the year from March to January, making February the second month.

February usually had 28 days until the time of the Roman statesman Julius Caesar. Caesar gave it 29 days in standard years and 30 every four years. According to tradition, the Roman emperor Augustus took one day off February to add to August, the month named after him. Today, February has 28 days in standard years and 29 in leap years.

A Leap year has 366 days, or one more day than an ordinary year. Leap year day occurs once every 4 years. The next leap year will be in 2012.

Why is it called a Leap Year?

Hundreds of years ago the leap year day had no recognition in English law. The day was 'leapt over' and ignored, hence the term leap year.

Leap years were added to the calendar to make the calendar year nearly the same as the solar year, which is the time it takes for the sun to pass the vernal equinox twice. The extra day added every four years brings a solar year of 365 1/4 days into line with the calendar year of 365 days.

February Second is Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day in the U.S. is a popular tradition, the day (February 2) that the groundhog, or woodchuck, comes out of his hole after winter hibernation to look for his shadow; If he sees his shadow, it foretells six more weeks of bad weather; If he cannot see his shadow because of clouds, Spring is coming. Supposedly he goes back into his hole if more bad weather is coming and stays above ground if spring is near; statistical evidence does not support this tradition.~Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia~
"Away in a meadow all covered with snow
The little old groundhog looks for his shadow
The clouds in the sky determine our fate
If winter will leave us all early or late."- Don Halley

Weather-lore for February

It is said that if the weather is fine and frosty at the close of January and the beginning of February, there is more winter ahead than behind.

When the cat lies in the sun in February
She will creep behind the stove in March

Of all the months of the year, curse a fair February

If it thunders in February, it will frost in April

If February gives much snow, A fine summer it does foreshow.

So far, the beginning of this month looks like the groundhog will be seeing his shadow, so keep those winter hat's, scarves, gloves, boots, and coats on for at least another six weeks.

I want to take this opportunity to also congratulate Sparrow and Swallow on their 1st year anniversary of their blog "Birds of a Feather." Kudos to you both. I know that "Frabjous Photo's" will be just as successful.

Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement you have given me.

What will I be blogging about, hopefully, for another year? Time will tell. One thing for sure, where ever the crow flies, Raven will be there.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!