Notorious Rathkeale Rover and rhino smuggler John Slattery deported back to Ireland after three-month prison stint in US

Fife man pleads guilty to animal fighting following Scottish SPCA investigation

Burnley taxidermy dealer jailed for the second time for illegal trade in critically endangered species

Cumbrian Badger killers caught after man investigated for different crime

Baby birds released into wild after being stolen from nests in Yorkshire and Derbyshire

Rural police operation to make North Yorkshire a no-go area for poachers

Four charged in connection with hare coursing in Laurencekirk

Peregrine falcon 'shot with a pellet gun' in Bingley, West Yorkshire

Northumbria Police Wildlife Crime Officer is recognised with British Citizen Award

Partnership to fight Irish wildlife crime launched

Metropolitan Police investigating after swan killed by dog in Epping Forest

Rare sea eagle found dead in Aberdeenshire had been poisoned

Appeal for information after analysis reveals buzzard poisoned in North Yorkshire

Fears growing for missing golden eagle, last tagged over Perthshire

Police appeal for information after goshawk killed near Goathland

Appeal for information after buzzard found shot in Ryedale

Two more hen harriers disappear in Scotland under ‘suspicious’ circumstances

Peregrine falcon eggs taken from three sites in Peak District

Appeal after Peak District buzzard is shot and has to be put down

North Yorkshire Police appeal for information after buzzards found shot in Bransdale

Home / Education / Bird of the Month – Raven

Bird of the Month – Raven

raven6658LCampbell-aThe raven is the largest of our UK corvids, being much the same size as a buzzard. It looks rather like a giant carrion crow, all black, but with a much more powerful bill. In flight its tail is wedge-shaped, that probably being the best identifier. A raven is often seen before it is heard, and its characteristic prukk, prukk, call often draws attention to it as it soars high in the sky.

The raven is found in a variety of habitats, though mainly, moorland, mountains and cliffs.  Its preference for cliff-nesting often means it has a nesting peregrine as a near neighbour, though the two species seem to co-exist successfully.  It is one of our earliest nesting birds, with more southern populations starting to lay eggs in mid-February, and those further north laying eggs by early April.  A pair of adult ravens will hold a territory, and use the same nest or nests year after year.  Younger ravens are chased out of the territory and are often found feeding in flocks on farmland.

raven7848LCampbell-aAs a typical member of the crow family, the raven’s diet is varied, but includes birds’ eggs, young birds and carrion. Taking game bird eggs brings the bird into conflict with game management, and the fact that it sometimes picks the eyes out of sheep that are lambing or stuck on their back can bring it into conflict with farmers.  Some licences are issued to deal with ravens causing a serious problem to agriculture, but occasionally the bird is shot illegally or its nest is deliberately interfered with, causing failure of the eggs or chicks. Egg collectors, for whatever reason, regularly target clutches of raven eggs.  This may be because it is one of the earliest nesters or because the nests are a challenge to climb up to (or abseil down to).  Ravens nesting on coastal areas of north Wales are often the population that suffers most from this strange breed of criminal.