Three ravens visited our plot that day, prompting a vigorous pursuit by the crows, who really own the place.The ravens (Corvus corax} appear to produce extraordinary rage on the part of the crows (Corvus caurinus}. The crows do not seem to mind the eagles, seagulls or herons, though they maintain distance, However there is something about ravens that always produces a noisy pursuit.
The crows seem to have a congregational life and the teamwork they display is remarkable. They always have a Watchbird and a distant early warning system to alert the pianist and me of the approach of an enemy. The crows play frequently, diving and wheeling and rotating at intervals with one another. Life for them does not always seem serious. Whereas the raven seems more a solitary bird and an outsider, largely unwelcome at least by our birds.
Unlike the raven, the range of vocalizations of the crows appears large but it is hard to know what they are saying. Certain phasing does appear identifiable with specific situations. They seem very smart and have learned from the seagulls how to drop clams on the shore stones to crack open. They can compete with the gulls for shore side delicacies whereas the gulls are too stupid to learn anything from them. The gulls seem to congregate, but have no time for one another as they always compete, other than team work like the crows. Our crows knew when the small tree fruits ripened and they preemptively ate them two weeks prior to the time we would pick.
I often wondered at the choice of the Steller's Jay (Cyanacitta stelleri) as the provincial bird of British Columbia. They don't have the skill, intelligence or "savior faire" to compare with the Northwestern Crow. They may be beautiful but they are noisy, obnoxious, and have attention deficet disorder. Beauty before brains was the operative phrase when the B.C. Committee made that unfortunte choice I guess.