As You Mean to Continue

A photographer neighbour stood in calf-deep icy water this week to get close enough for a good shot of a barred owl.

I braced myself against the glass door to get steady enough for OK shots of today’s backyard visitors.

We all do our part.

3-photo collage of backyard birds

One thing I learned last year was that it can be tricky to distinguish crows from ravens. You can’t tell from the photo, but this black bird was big enough to raise the question. Having gone through the checklist, I’d say it’s a crow. A big crow.

The juncos and the cardinals are about the size I expect to see.

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6 Responses to As You Mean to Continue

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Doesn’t a raven have a ruff under its chin? We had ravens when we lived in Prince Rupert, and I found they had a far larger vocabulary than crows, so distinguishing them by sound would be an option.

    JIm T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes, I think the Corvid Lady calls that ruff “hackles.” I have seen ravens (unmistakable by size) in the parking lot of a Yellowknife fast-food joint. You wouldn’t want to mess with one.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Does the black bird caw? Crows we had on the farm cawed. Although we never had any ravens that I knew of. Maybe I just didn’t know.

    Great photo!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – I didn’t hear his lovely voice (it was through the window), but I think it’s as Jim says – the ravens have more vocalizations. Of course, a comparative characteristic only helps when you have both to compare.

  3. Jim Robertson says:

    So much more comfortable doing indoor photography!! Nice catches!

    We had a friend south of the city who had a myriad feeders about 30 feet from the house. He husband built narrow slots in windows so invited guests could stick lenses out the window without all the cold air coming in. And behind us a roaring fire was going in the fireplace.

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