On my patrols through the reserve I am always on the look out for any wildlife and there is always plenty to be seen, including plenty of bird species. Birds are some of the most loved and most commonly seen species throughout the towns and countryside. From our resident peregrine falcons and mewing buzzards to the herons and mallards on the river there are always birds flying around the reserve. This week I have been fortunate enough to spot one of my favorite bird species while out in the woods: the common raven (Corvus corax).
These fantastic corvids are the largest in the crow family and have a distinctive ‘cronk’ call that sets them apart from the carrion crows and rooks that are more commonly seen. They have a huge distribution and can be found from North America to the islands of the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Sahara. Ravens are extremely intelligent and curious birds with some of the largest brains of all bird species and amazing problem solving skills that help them survive. In viking mythology ravens were thought to be helpers of Odin, the god of wisdom and ruler over the other Norse gods.
Last year we had a pair of ravens nesting in the gorge down river from the peregrine watch site and though the falcons did not seem to mind their neighbors I would often hear the ravens calling from the tops of the pine trees and spy their black silhouettes against the sky. I always find it magical to see them soaring overhead, performing amazing aerial acrobatics in their breeding pairs or juveniles playing with each other. These fantastic birds make any walk hugely enjoyable and a sighting of them is truly memorable.
Bye for now and keep an eye on the skies!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger