October 28th, 2016: Quoth the Raven…somewhat regularly in Vancouver
In Vancouver the largest passerines aren’t exactly abundant, but they are pretty common. Common enough that they show up on several bird lists a year (even if you’re not on the north shore up against the mountains), but never in large numbers and they’re not so ubiquitous that they don’t cheer me up when I hear that eerily human, rolling “cronk” in the distance.
Today, I was walking from my office to a Balinese gamelan rehearsal on the University of British Columbia campus when I heard one calling from the tops of some tall conifers. Common Ravens are also in that birding “sweet spot” where you get to see them relatively regularly, but not so often that you don’t think, “Ooh, a Raven!” They’re also so smart that I often find myself wondering what they’re thinking or what they most recently reasoned out. I know they’re not thinking, “Gee, I sure am large for a passerine,” but they can make tools and figure out pretty intricate physical puzzles.
There’s something uniquely appealing about these smart, big, easily anthropomorphized passerines: seeing or hearing one always makes my day.