That would be great to listen to Geoff, Ravens (Corvus corax) are
practically the same here, in fact you couldn't tell them apart mate, I
live in the Seattle region in the Pacific Northwest and have been here
now for about 7 years. I'm an ex-pat formally from good old bonnie
Scotland, I had recorded Ravens in the Highlands of Scotland and indeed
here, I've looked at sonograms of both sets of birds and I can find no
difference. Ravens don't very often sit on lamp posts the crows do :-)
(by the way, American crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos are practically the
same also) I also have recordings of various clucks and clicks, I can't
get close enough to see if the beak is clicking or connected to vocal
noises either, I would be fascinated to hear your sounds. I've long
admired your work mate and when I was in the UK I bought your last bird
CD, great stuff!
From: Geoff Sample
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2003 2:54 AM
Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: raven beak clicking
on 26/9/03 1:48 am, at
> On our morning walk, my dog Grover barked at a big raven that was
> sitting on a streetlight arm in the bus lot. The raven was making a
> silent call, clicking its beak three times click-click-click. Its
> lower jaw was quivering in between the clicks, like it had
> laryngitis. It repeated the "call" five or six times.
> -Dan Dugan
I can't remember hearing this from a raven but carrion crows here in UK
(corvus corone) regularly give clicking calls. I've been puzzled as to
whether it was vocal (like a glottal stop) or bill-clicking, since I've
seen the action close enough to tell. I've got half a mind that the call
often interspersed at intervals with muffled throaty sounds (again
quiet). But it may be that I've lumped the 2 classes together in my
Just checked and the 2 sounds run together in the calling series on a
recording I've got.
Showing my ignorance here: are north American ravens the same species as
European? I can't imagine any UK ravens sitting on a lamp-post (the
at the tower of London have their wings clipped, I believe).
I was fortunate enough to get some close recordings of a 10/11 month old
raven in Jan & Feb 2002. The bird had been found with damaged plumage in
local hills the previous september by the national park warden; he kept
in a large aviary at his house over winter (with minimal human
then re-introduced to wild subsequently when new feathers grew.
John called me when round about christmas/new year the bird started
indulging in quite prolonged vocal sessions in the morning at first
'with the weirdest sounds'. On the first recording session, a sunday
near the end of Jan, it was raining lightly, but the bird performed
with long streams of varied sounds (squeals, purrs, croaks and soft
essentially a subsong. I returned 2 weeks later when there were better
conditions, but the bird was in slightly different vocal mode. Not so
subsong as trying variations on the basic cawing call, sometimes loud,
mostly a bit more subdued.
It was a real privilege to listen in to a known-age bird finding its
Essentially wild: it got nervous with me within sight of its cage. And
presumably it would have learnt the basics of raven language in its
months or so living free with the rest of the local raven community. But
John never managed to sex the bird with confidence.
I could dig out part of the first session and post an mp3 on the website
anyone's interested. I may need some brief instructions (does one ftp
'Music is everywhere if only we had the ears to listen'. John Cage
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