On a recent trip to Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, I found this Common Raven alongside the road near the main flight deck. Perhaps it was eating something dead nearby that was hidden in the vegetation.
When I look at this wonderful creature I am reminded of how much I love the natural world and how cool birds like Ravens are. Normally I see them flying overhead when I am hiking in the mountains, but because they are scavengers and are a resident bird at the refuge, I am not surprised to see one when I drive around the loop drive looking for Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes.
I grew up in Western New York where the most common members of the Crow Family were Common Crows and Blue Jays. It wasn’t until I moved to Big Bend National Park and worked as a Park Ranger that I started to see Common Ravens on an almost daily basis. Most members of the Crow Family have reputations as being highly intelligent with some individuals favoring life in suburban areas. Did you know that a member of the Crow Family living near people requires only 10% of the living space required out in the wild? The reason for this is pretty easy to see when you watch what they are eating, almost anything they can find including people food.
One day at Panther Junction Park Headquarters where I lived in Big Bend National Park some friends and I were getting ready to cook steaks on the grill. It was a hot day and the steaks were frozen so we put some on a plate to thaw out on the picnic table. Not long after we learned an important lesson. Never thaw a steak outside with Ravens in the neighborhood. My friend Daniel let out a yell and our local Raven took off for the nearest tree, but not before digging deep into that steak and leaving its mark.
Members of the Crow Family all over the country and in other parts of the world have been successful in living with humans. In some cases they thrive. Unfortunately many other species are not able to adapt to our presence where we have now impacted over 80% of the Earth’s surface with some kind of human activity. According to the IUCN over 22,000 species are now endanger of extinction with species in some part of the globe no doubt going extinct every day.
Let this Raven inspire you today to learn more about wildlife and how to get involved in any way you can in supporting conservation efforts where you live and in other parts of the world. It doesn’t take long to find an organization out there that is working to make a difference. With the tax year ending and income tax season just around the corner, consider making a tax deductible donation of any size somewhere or signing up to volunteer offering your time, talents and in-kind resources. Find a list of local groups you can support here.