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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Are you confident in your ability to distinguish crows from ravens - and other “blackbirds”?  If so, do you have additional id tips that you use? If not, what is still confusing you?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      juliawhitten
      I think I could distinguish crows from the grackles and ravens up close, but from far away or in flight I may not be sure.
    • G
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      gp3128
      If I can't get a good look at a bird, I'll likely have trouble identifying it. But I'm pretty confident in my crow spotting abilities. The contempt I hold for brown-headed cowbirds definitely keeps me on the lookout for their distinguishing traits, so I'm at least good at differentiating them from other birds.
    • Erin
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Emoxam
      I am confident that I can distinguish crows from ravens and other black birds, but if I lived where there were crows and ravens together, I would not be so confident in flight, that's for sure.
    • Lori
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      labwrks9
      Still Learning, thus this class, BUT.. Thanks to this course I am much more confident now. I look at eyes, wings, i.e. 4 or 5 pointed or rounded, iridescent color as opposed to not, black eyes. Enjoying the course.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ClairolB
      There was brief mention that a crow spotted in Europe is a Rook. As a UK resident I think I can relate the details in the course to crows, but is this accurate/possible and if neither what species and facts should I be learning?
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        Thanks for the question. Corvids around the world vary in size, shape, and color. The Crow, Not Crow Snap ID isn't specifically designed to help you learn corvid vs. non corvid but it could help you somewhat.  This course is specifically about one species: American Crows. People shouldn't assume a fact about an American Crow would also be true about jackdaws, rooks, ravens, other crow species etc. For instance the breeding system varies from species to species. American Crows are socially monogamous and do cooperative breeding but other species of corvids that isn't often the case. Visually there are differences in ever species. Such as we are teaching about how the throat feathers on an American Crow differ from throat feathers on a Common Raven. You won't come across an American Crow in the UK so learning the differences between American Crow and Common Raven won't help you in UK but will help you if you visit USA.  Even in the USA American Crow differs from Fish Crow in various ways such as how the primary feathers appear flight. For visual identification of UK corvid species this won't help. It  might help if you were at a level of not knowing the difference between a starling and a corvid and a sparrow. American Crows are not the same species as a rook so there will be many differences, however not as many differences as between a rook and a sparrow or a rook and a starling.
    • sybil
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      sybilsloan
      I have learned to distinguish crows from other black birds online, but out of doors, I'm not so sure.  We only have a few crows around us, but I feed them every day so I am able to see their black eyes, beaks, rounded feathers and squarer tails.  Learning this much has been very interesting.   Thank you for the course,  Wendy
    • Josh
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      jbennett1995
      I am confident in distinguishing crows from other blackbirds overall. It is a little more difficult in flight, but it's much easier to tell the American Crow apart from other blackbird species in general, such as the Common Grackle or Red-Winged Blackbird. I can distinguish an American Crow and Common Raven up close fairly quickly, but it's of course tougher in the field. This lesson has helped me reinforce the differences between these two species, and I will continue practicing in the field to differentiate crows and ravens (especially in-flight profile, I've been using mostly that along with vocal and behavioral cues to distinguish them when the opportunity presents itself).
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      amykate55
      I am confident with my abilities to distinguish the American Crow from other birds that might share some of its traits. Tips: Look for additional colors/patterns. Some birds have shiny or different-looking feathers from the crow ( raven, grackle), or different colors ( blackbird, bronzed cowbird).
    • Ellen
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      ebadelman123
      I can mostly tell crows apart from other "black birds", usually by checking the tail (in the case of grackles) or looking for a color other than black on the bird (Red-wings, cowbirds). One tip for separating grackles from Corvids is iridescence - the black on a grackle is not a true black but is iridescent and shines with blues and greens in direct sunlight (beautiful). Grackles and other blackbirds also have a light- or white-colored iris, unlike crows and ravens which have dark irises (admittedly, you do need to be closer to the bird to see the iris color, but these birds often land on the ground or perch in trees which makes identifying iris color simpler). I live in central NC but often visit the Outer Banks of NC. Both American and Fish Crows occur in the Outer Banks, with Fish Crows more common. Now, those two species are very hard to tell apart. The best way I know to tell the difference is voice - they sound quite different, but doesn't help when the crow flying by or perched is silent. I know the Fish Crow is smaller than the American Crow, but that is only useful if one happens to see both species next to each other (that doesn't happen, or at least has never happened for me). Any additional tips for identifying these 2 species would help.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        Sound is certainly the best way to tell apart American Crows vs. Fish Crows as you have already pointed out. Even experts sometimes cannot tell these species apart visually unless they have them 'in the hand'. From the instructor: Fish Crows are a bit more glossy purple, but  this difference is very difficult to detect. Fish Crows have more slender bills and feet than American Crows. (Foot size is especially noticeable when contrasted against the large-footed south Florida race of the American Crow, C. b. pascuus.)  But bill size varies quite a bit in American Crows, with males having larger bills. A small billed female American Crow can have the same look in the face as a Fish Crow. Fish Crows show a shorter legged look when walking on the ground.  The "thigh" (actually the tibiotarsus) shows less prominently than is typical with an American Crow. The feathers on the upper back of American Crows show a decidedly "ringed" or "scaled" effect not shown by Fish Crows.  This character is especially obvious when the crow is between the sun and the observer. The upper back feathers of Fish Crows are more lax at the tips (without barbs holding them together), and consequently the upper back is without rings. In fact, on the upper back no individual feathers can be distinguished.  See if you can detect this difference on the head shots at the top of the page.  (The exposure of the shots is very different, but the effect is still there.) The "Wing Formula" differs between the species.  The outermost primaries on the wings are of different proportions.   On a bird in the hand these can be measured easily, but they are not easily seen in the field.  Primaries (the feathers that come out of the hand part of the wing) are numbered starting from the inside of the wing, and in crows the outermost one is primary number 10.  In Fish Crows, the 9th primary (p9) is the same size as, or is slightly longer than the 5th primary (p5), while in American Crows p5 is markedly longer than p9.   The effect of this differences is that the Fish Crow wing is somewhat more pointed in appearance. This difference is hard to see in the field and is not definitive.  It should be used as an indication only.  Molt and individual wear can give misleading impressions. Fish Crows have a faster wingbeat than American Crows.  In an area where both species occur the difference in wingbeat frequency can be an indication of the species, but this is not a definitive character.  Not all crows of a given species fly at the same wingbeat rate.  Juvenile and yearling American Crows usually fly with a faster beat rate than do adults (just not as efficient fliers?), and molt or feather wear can affect the rate too.  And sometimes crows are just more in a hurry than at other times. Fish Crows use a different posture for calling than American Crows. Fish Crows tend to stay more hunched and shorter necked, and typically fluff their throat feathers. American Crows tend to stretch their necks a bit, and do not substantially fluff their throat feathers. American Crows molt earlier than Fish Crows.  During the summer the two species can be distinguished by their stages of molt.  In much of their range American Crows breed a month or more earlier than Fish Crows (Johnston 1961, The biosystematics of American crows, Univ. of Washington Press; Clapp and Banks 1993, Raven 64: 90-98; McGowan 2001, Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) in Birds of North America, No. 589).   In upstate New York American Crows start incubation the first week of April, while Fish Crows don't start until May.  Most birds do not molt until they are finished breeding, and the molting schedules of the two crows reflect the month difference in their breeding schedule.  The earliest Ithaca American Crows (non-breeders and those whose nests have failed) will start molting in June and will be finished by the end of September.  Ithaca Fish Crows, on the other hand, start molting in late July and don't finish until October.  Source: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/FishCrow.htm
    • joan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      joanamory
      Mostly confident.  Check out tails
    • Raven
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Pwendel08
      • We don't get any visits from ravens where I live. The only other black (looking) birds we have around here are grackles. There are some crows that visit every so often -- they usually fly over in groups. Very sociable they are. Their calls give them away to their presence. I love all corvids, and I love to see crows around. My name is Raven, so I guess I'm biased for this bird species.
    • Tom
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      lifegiggles
      I am confident in my ability to distinguish crows from ravens and other birds with superficial similarities, but not confident in identifying all of the non-corvid 'blackbirds' yet. I am hopeful that this will come with more practice.
    • MADELINE
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      mhcaviness
      This is going fine but I will be d..d if I can get to the next lesson!!! Im cawing my head off.
    • Sallie
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      SallieG
      I'm not that confident in my ability to identify the American Crow yet.  However, I always look at the beak and the tail feathers when I see a Crow.  The beak on the Crow seems less pointed and "chubbier" than the beak a lot of black birds have.
    • nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      nancypaquin
      I feel confident that I can distinguish between Crows and Ravens.  Not sure I've seen a Grackle.  But I'll look for the yellow eyes.
    • Fredrick
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      frusso
      Many of the discussants noted the yellow eye color of the grackles and other non-crows. In addition, in the first lesson, I noted that some of the Crows have squared-off tails rather than rounded.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kzelez
      No. I live in an area where skies are often gray, so these perfect photos are not what I usually see. I have never seen a Brewer's Blackbird. I have to travel a long way for Boat-tailed or Great-tailed Grackles. My binoculars rarely give me a look at the eye which helps with Grackle ID, and I have great binoculars. Birds in flight will always be a struggle and with Crows there is the need to learn wing motion to decide if you have a distant crow or a raptor.  So, no confidence with flight.  Of the birds you selected we get cowbirds, red-wings, Common Grackles, Crows.
      • Sallie
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        SallieG
        You bought up a good point about the binoculars.  The pair I have aren't; that good for seeing and identifying birds, or maybe it's my inability.  I'm going to try to get a good powerful set of binoculars. Thanks for bring that to mind.
    • Judy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      leporeju
      I struggle with wing and tail shapes when I can't see a grackle's color or eye
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kzelez
      I don't get opportunities for Ravens around here. But I know most of the different characteristics. My issue is always the bird in flight. The pointier wing is new to me. Still working on the tail shape and neck differences. I ID more by sound when I bird and I have a lot to learn
      • Tom
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        lifegiggles
        Birding by sound is a challenge for me, unless it's a species that I encounter very frequently. Any tips for learning by ear? Happy birding!
    • kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      kathykuhlmann525
      If I can’t see the bird I can usually tell by the call.  Wings, tails, beak, ruff all help in distinguishing between the crow and the raven.  Between the Corvid and other black birds, no contest.
    • Kaili
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Kaili PS
      Though I got 100% on all the quizzes, I still tend to second guess myself with the crows vs. ravens. I feel sitting and watching their mannerisms has helped. For example how their heads move when they are making vocalizations. The pointy all around and throat feather clues are big takeaways from this lesson.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        FYI to everyone: In all our ID courses make sure to click "replay" on the Snap IDs as each time it will give you new match ups and pull in some photos you haven't seen yet. I suggest in any course that has a Snap ID play that one over and over as it helps to train your brain.
    • Jessica Kaplan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jklundevall
      I still feel uncertain differentiating between crows and ravens when I see them flying or from a short distance.
      • Tom
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        lifegiggles
        A couple things that I've found helpful is flight pattern and wing shape. It seems that crows have a 'rowing' wing stroke with rounded wings and seldom fly without flapping, while ravens are very red-tailed-hawk-like in the air: more pointed wingtips, infrequent wingbeats and much more likely to soar. Hope that helps : ) Happy birding!
    • Alan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      apalachian
      Most of the black birds and grackles have light colored eyes. While the crow has dark eyes.
    • sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      sandygooch
      ravens usually hang out at higher elevations in Oregon
      • Chelsea
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        littlewing9
        Ravens abound here in Colorado, as well.
    • James
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jimbuschmann
      This one was easy. I had a much harder time with the first one, crows vs ravens. Even knowing the distinction between tail shape and number of “fingers”, I missed several.
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      sarabethell
      Yes, I found it much more challenging to distinguish them from pictures of ravens.
    • Diana
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      q8K#wcM
      I go mainly by ear—they are both much more ‘visible’ by sound than sight. Outside of downtown Philadelphia, along the river, we have American Crows, Fish Crows, and the occasional Common Raven.
      • Bonnie Lee
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        notneb64
        I agree, it is much easier to ID by sound. I am a novice birder and just don't seem to be quick enough to catch flight. Bonnie
    • p
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      fragaria
      I find the trick seems to be to look at ALL the clues - wings (rounded, five fingered), tail (square ended), head shape, beak shape, dark eyes, feathers around head and neck.  Any one of these may not be enough to identify (especially wing tips), but if I can see more than one part clearly, then I can probably accurately identify a crow.
      • Tom
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        lifegiggles
        All of the characters reduced into one form: that of crow. Gestalt!
    • Jeremiah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      electrifiedground
      My tip is that non-crows are sometimes more glossy, like their feathers have more oils.
      • Chelsea
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        littlewing9
        How interesting! I will pay more attention to this in the field. Thanks for the neat tip!
    • William
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      wbwarr
      Yes, I am quite confident.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Anndrussky
      Crows have dark eyes, many other black birds have yellow eyes
      • Karrin
        Participant
        Chirps: 47
        klukacs
        I noticed that, too, but I wasn't sure if that was always the case.
      • Chelsea
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        littlewing9

        @Karrin It isn’t always the case. I noticed the eye color difference between the American Crow and other blackbirds during one of the flying ID quizzes and applied the eye color technique to the next question. I was shocked to get it wrong! The Boat Tailed Grackler had darker eyes, and the American Crow had lighter eyes, because of the way the light was hitting them!

      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller

        @Chelsea This is a good point you mention.  Kevin McGowan has a "Rule of Three" when it comes to bird ID and part of that is to try to find at least three distinguishing characteristics when making a bird identification as relying on just one feature will rarely work.

    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Sue Beckhorn
      Between crow and raven, sometimes the fully spread raven tail looks like a crow to me. learning the wing tips! I have both around my home, so want to know them apart flying overhead.
      • Chelsea
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        littlewing9
        I really like that you can count the number of “finger” feathers. 5 for crows and 4 for ravens!
    • Elaine
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Elaine0421
      In person, it's easy for me to distinguish crows from ravens.  Ravens aren't really in my area, so I don't see them much, if at all.  But if I do see them, they are much larger than crows, so that makes it easy.  Seeing pictures of each bird is a little more challenging. As far as crows vs. other blackbirds, I start with eye color, as many other black birds have light eyes, whereas crows have dark eyes.  I also look for other colors in the feathers.  Crows are all black, but other blackbirds may have sheen in their feathers or even bright colors or distinguishing colors.
    • Crystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Cris720
      I am feeling more confident with distinguishing crows from other blackbirds. I cannot say for certain that I am 100% on crows vs ravens though.  We have a lot of grackles here so determining the male grackles vs crows is pretty easy when you get close enough.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      julie koch
      The yellow eyes of Grackles are an easy identifier if they're close enough to see
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      FairmontFarm
      I am around here, and I think I would be where the big grackles live as well.  Some of the boat-tailed grackle photos in the SnapID were tough!
    • Robert
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Rob_Rob
      Crows are also exquisitely beautiful.
    • Ticia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      ticiam
      LOVE CROWS !  Not really a "birder" / more aspiring naturalist  :) Don't think we have Ravens here in Pa. (?).  Crows always alert me to a perched Owl nearby.  I could be inside the house, but when I hear them raising a ruckus, I know to grab the binocs and run outside ! Am thoroughly enjoying this course !
    • Chuck
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      chuck.passentino
      I now feel more confident in identifying American Crows from other kinds of blackbirds, but I still lack confidence in distinguishing American Crows from Common Ravens. However, the class builds my confidence and sharpens my eyes, so I feel I'll improve. Differentiating crows from other blackbirds is easier. The eye color and size differences are key characteristics that help identifying crows from other blackbirds.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      juliehoskins
      Feel confident, also recognizing eye color is distinct compared to other birds is helpful.
    • Jeannie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      jbron24
      If I were to see a raven, I'm pretty sure I'd get it wrong! Mainly because I have no experience with ravens. But I do well distinguishing crows from other birds. Grackles have those big yellow eyes. Also crows are much larger than other blackbirds. From a distance, I can always tell a crow in flight. There's a certain quality to the movement of the wings, it's hard to put into words, but I see it, I just know.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      LindaHarmony
      I am confident about my ability to distinguish crows from grackles, blackbirds, and cowbirds, but less so from the raven.
    • Lynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Lemmolo
      Agree.  Dark Eye is the best.   However head shaper plus beak are also differentiators.
    • Vicki g
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      vickigoldsmith
      the dark eye color often helped me distinguish, as well as the brownish cap for the cowbird, the midnight blue highlights for some grackles and the red wings of the blackbird, and in the field, I am getting to know some of the red winged blackbirds calls. I do see beak shape and tail shape differences, but have not obsorbed well enough for those to truly help me distinguish in the field - especially if no comparison available. As well I think I would get tripped up by the Brewer Blackbird. However, I expect the crow's call would be a good tip-off!
    • Shea
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      runnerboy13
      Blackbirds are small, and you can see their pupils. Crows are larger , have broader bills, and have dark eyes.
    • Shea
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      runnerboy13
      Blackbirds are small, and you can see their pupils, crows are larger , have broader bills, and have dark eyes.
    • Lucy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ruffian67
      Not so good with flying crows and ravens. But there are no ravens around here. Lots of grackles, but they are easy to identify.
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      SylviaAlleen
      I'm confident that I can identify crows.
    • Audrey
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      AQHall
      I am very confident that I can tell crows and ravens and, yes, the "blackbirds" apart. Crows are party birds. They do loops in the air and are very noisy; they also have rounded tails and shorter neck feathers than ravens. Grackles have long tail feathers and, sometimes, yellow eyes. Ravens, however, have diamond-shaped tails and longer neck feathers than crows. I hope these tips help! (:
    • Kleopatra
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Kekmadar
      I am confident.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Sevin7
      Yes, I am.
    • harriet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      harriethenderson
      I find that grackles fly very different. They fly as if their tail is too heavy for them, so they fly with their tail noticeably lower than their head, whereas crows fly more like a raptor, flat and straight.
    • Kelly
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kweymouth
      I find another difference is their behavior. Other black colored birds are less observant.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      roquech
      I noticed that a crow's feathers seem to be really dark black whereas some of the other birds have an iridescent sheen to their feathers.  Like other mentioned, I too noticed the black eye.  I did get tricked one time though relying on this feature!
    • Rosalie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      dearosalie
      Where I live I believe we only have crows and ravens; it can be hard to tell them apart in flight. I am not sure if this is correct, but if I see a pair, I assume they are ravens and if there are more than two, then I assume they are crows. I also listen to the sounds they make to determine which is which.
    • Melonie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      melship20081
      I live in Alaska and Minnesota, have both, confident in ID. However, had not been as aware of the grackle's eyes before!
    • harriet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      harriethenderson
      Yup I mainly look for the shape of the bill and the shape of the tail.
    • marny
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      marga52
      confident I can identify the crow.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      raheagle
      When I started this segment of the course and looked at the line up of other blackbirds, I realized just how much I knew because several are frequently sighted where I live in Northern New York.  I have to focus real closely when the birds are in flight, however.  A still shot is rather safe to look at and then make a decision.  Live action crows can be another story.  But I keep trying.  It's getting better!
    • oakdale
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      kmcnaugh
      I did practice many times using the identification quizzes.  Sometimes, the beaks were what help me id the crow or raven. I have seen enough red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and cowbirds it is not too difficult to distinguish between them.  But now that I have stated this I'll be eating "crow."
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      LindaMiwa
      I have terrible time telling ravens and crows apart in flight.
      • Ava
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        avamarshall
        Me too!
    • KATHRYN
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      KatCrow
      Size and markings especially. Crows and Ravens have dark eyes. Grackles have longer thinner legs and have a peculiar " head bob" as they walk. Also just by listening to the birds calls.
    • Michael
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      mdzaug67
      Look at the eyes. Crows eyes are dark.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      bjdeeter
      I found it easy to distinguish a crow from grackle, red wing blackbird and cow bird - eyes and colors - but the tail still confuses me, as I look for the round V’s. the sharp tail feathers and find I'm often wrong,
    • Elsa
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      eSale49
      Not additional;  I look mainly at the beak because I've missed a couple looking at the tail.  But, I've missed a couple in this quiz, looking at the beak as well!  Sigh.  I believe, however, that I've learned a great deal thus far and I'm so excited about it!  I've even engaged my husband who's not as interested on the subject as I am, and he answered correctly about those snakes!  I live in Southern California and I'm very familiar with our beautiful crows; they 've fascinated me for a long time.   In searching for more information on the internet about crows, a few years ago, I came upon a gentleman's comment, which began: "well, of course you've read the book, 'The Tarantula in My Purse', and that's why you are on this site..", he says.  No, I thought, but I will definitely look into the book.  I bought it immediately, and that's when my love affair with these beautiful and intelligent creatures began.  I've shared this sweet little book with so many friends, that I never got it back from whoever the last such friend was!   Can't wait to continue my education with you!!  Thank you!
    • Evvie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      inkybirbs37
      I live in Worcester County Massachusetts. I frequently see common grackles, redwing blackbirds, brown headed cowbirds, and American crows in my neighborhood. We've got a ton of local birds! I've very rarely see ravens here, and always in the western part of the state, though I saw many ravens when I visited the West Coast. I'm trying to ID a mystery blackbird I've spotted the last two summers. They look just like crows, but smaller--about the size of a mockingbird, with tails the same shape and proportion as an American crow and beaks similar to a crow, but just slightly smaller in proportion to the head. Their vocalizations are softer and less strident than an American crow's but deeper than most songbirds their size. More of a "WUH" than a "CAW." They've always shown up in small groups. I've never seen one alone. They are not irridescent like a grackle or raven, they're a plain matte black, and have no colored patches. Their heads are the same black as their bodies. They must be migrating when I've seen them, because they're uncommon sightings, always during summer. I don't recall ever seeing them before last year. I thought perhaps fish crow, but they're not known to come this far north and inland. Though with climate change, who knows? Our hardiness zone has changed over the years. Can some flocks of crows be small and fairly quiet? Unfortunately, I don't have a good zoom lens and haven't gotten close enough to catch good photos or videos. Would love to hear if anyone has thoughts or has seen these same blackbirds in the region!
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        Not sure if you will ever come back and see my reply but:  If you see these birds again I would ask that you take photos and post them.
    • charlotte
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      char5854
      Feel very confident about id of the american crow- been feeding a family for about 10 years now- haven’t seen too many Ravens here in the NW hill of Ct
    • Angela
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Angela.Snow
      I am apparently very good at identifying crows from ravens if they are right next to each other, are completely still, and I can put my face 6 inches away from them. I think I am good at telling them apart in the field as well, but with no one to correct me, how would I know if I were mistaken?  I think the voices of crows and ravens are very distinctive, as are the tails if they are flying overhead.
    • Jim
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      Jim Fuehrmeyer
      I see Crows, Common Grackles, Boat-tailed Grackles,  and Red-winged Blackbirds regularly in my yard and when I am in Florida. I recently got a trip to Russia and saw Rooks, Hooded Crows and Eurasian Blackbirds but I am still waiting to see my first Raven. Given my familiarity with these others I am pretty confident that a Raven will stick out from the crowd.
    • Diane
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      dlahaise
      One tip that I have read about and is helpful to me is that ravens will occasionally soar in flight whereas crows never do that. This only helps if the bird is flying, of course. I also look for that wedge-shaped tail in the raven for confirmation.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      susangreta
      I observe ravens in Iceland (work there) where there the only corvid is the raven. So it's easy for me there - but here in NYC and in MA where I am a residet, I have trouble. I have spotted ravens in the city, and they are huge - I compare them with hawks for size, as they are usually about the same distance away as a hawk (far), fly in pairs, land on top of high buildings, and I've even been able to catch the "wedge-shaped" tail in a photo. There are a lot of crows in NYC and at the Cape (Cod/MA) common crows and fish crows. They are noisy and in small flocks, rarely alone. The ravens, if they call, are distinctive in their croak.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        If the "wedge shaped tail" of a Common Raven is hard to visualize. See if you notice that the outermost tail feathers on each side of the tail are shorter than the innermost/central tail feathers. For an American Crow the tail feathers are even in length.
      • Cam
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        CamMannino

        @Lee Ann van Leer Thanks, Lee Ann.  That's helpful.

      • Ava
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        avamarshall

        @Lee Ann van Leer Very helpful! Thank you!

    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Bookista
      Those eyes on the grackle make it very easy to distinguish a grackle from a crow! I feel pretty good about distinguishing a raven from a crow, too, as long as I am close enough to eyeball its size! Crows are so gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that because they are in my last name! :D
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      mmathews32
      The eyes and beak help me identify a crow. The Wings and tails in flight still confuses me.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      krexplus
      Crows have dark/black eyes. Some of the other birds with which the crow is sometimes confused have yellow/light brown eyes.
    • pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      prestivo1967
      Fairly confident
    • Faith
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      faith m sullivan
      Yes appears to be many different things that help you distinguish the difference . Size ,color of eyes  colors on body and tail feathers / shape  beaks
    • Robert
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bob
      Yes, for the most part. But the crows around here in the Alberta Boreal are large. I've been listening mornings to a young family of ravens (judging only by sound). The fledgelings sound like crow caws, but when the adult chimes in, it's more of a cronk. I wouldn't bet the farm on identifying by sound.
      • Susan
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        susangreta
        Agreed re: sound of fledglings - I've never heard crow fledglings, but the raven chicks, I've heard a lot - and fledglings make a very loud begging cry, like crow caws but coninuous, similar in mien to other begging baby birds. The adult ravens make cronks but I've heard them make some other rattling sounds, soft krunks,  and alarm cronks.  Crows I identify by caws, and they are more apt to make sounds than the adult ravens.
    • Douglas
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      BoothDA
      Ravens are notably larger and have pointier tales and wings as well as a longer hooked beak
    • charlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      charlene cyr
      Yes I feel confident in identifying crows
    • Roseann
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      RoseannK
      I do see crows regularly (lots of them) and ravens less often, but still somewhat regularly (usually just one or two at a time). The first time I saw a raven in my area he was standing among a  group of crows and seagulls that I was feeding (he was hanging back a bit). At first I thought, that's a very large crow, as body-wise he was as large as a seagull... of course it wasn't a large crow, it was a raven. I got up to speed after that in telling the difference between the two. Sometimes it's harder at a distance, unless I hear their call... that's a real give-away.
    • Jeanne
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      jduprau
      I see both crows and ravens here in N California and have now learned to tell them apart by size and tail.
    • Fred A.
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      fjordan
      Yes I can tell the difference.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      mrsknapp1
      I’m not sure if there are Ravens here on the Monterey Bay, but I’m going to find out and if there are I will try to identify them.
      • Lee Ann van Leer
        Participant
        Chirps: 78
        LilacRoller
        Yes Barbara,   There are Common Ravens in Monterey Bay so I hope you were able to find some.
    • karima
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      whales123
      The crow's facial features like eye and beak shape are different!
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      kathleen803
      We don't have ravens in North Florida, so I don't need to distinguish between crows and ravens at home, but when traveling I can usually tell them apart by size and beak shape. I didn't know that ravens have longer throat feathers and that will be helpful for close up IDs in the future. Sometimes it's challenging to distinguish crows from grackles when they're flying. We also have Fish Crows, which I can distinguish from American Crows by their call.
      • Susan
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        susangreta
        I can't tell the difference between the common crow and the fish crow - I see both around the beach but don't know which is which or what sound the fish crow might make.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        throckm6

        @Susan YouTube "fish crow call" - the sound is very distinctive!!

    • Allan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      aebrandli
      The beak size and shape along with the eye coloring were two of the key identifiers that I took away from this lesson.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      ajojac
      I am getting better at noticing beak size, eye color and tail shape/size. In New Jersey there are no ravens but plenty of grackles, red wings, cow birds and starlings. In flight is my biggest challenge.
      • Susan
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        susangreta
        I read that there are ravens in NJ now. I have seen them in NYC (as have other people) and they do "krunk" and when they fly they are usually high - hawk level - and that's how I know they are ravens as they size is comparable to a red-tailed hawk. Crows are smaller and they hang in gangs.
    • Catherine
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Cathy3417
      I'm confident in being able to distinguish between crows and ravens. I've only seen a raven in captivity but the size difference was amazing. I have actually heard a crow that sounded a lot like a raven. His voice was totally different from all the other crows in my area (SF Bay Area).
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Courtney47
      I m fairly confident with these pictures, but will probably have more trouble distinguishing crows from ravens in reality.
    • Jeni
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jeniluby
      I'm fairly confident in my ability to distinguish crows from ravens. I do so mostly by their call - caw and cronk. Ravens where I live are markedly bigger than crows. I look for the scruffy neck feathers to identify the raven.
    • Jonquele
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jonquele
      I don't have much trouble separating the crows from the grackles and blackbirds when they are perched or nearby... and none at all when they are calling. I do run into issues though when they are in flight and at a distance. Then I am more like to confuse them with the vultures (black or turkey) until they turn or glide. I don't quite have the wingbeat patterns down or the silhouettes. The very strong light in Texas can wash out a lot of the telltale details.
    • Kathryn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      k28hutch
      I noticed that the crow's eyes are black, too. That helped me distinguish between them and the other birds on some of the close-up head shots.  I had more trouble identifying them in flight from a distance or by silhouette.
    • Amanda
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      adguzman
      I'm pretty good distinguishing crow from non-crow/raven; but between a crow and a raven in real life, not still pictures, I'm a little shaky. It doesn't help that there aren't many ravens in this area for me to practice on. I appreciate the tips from this lesson, though. I'll be sure to put them into practice when I go birding in the future.
    • J
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      JimFeet
      I am confident in my ability to distinguish between crows (or ravens) and non-crows/ravens. My ability to discriminate crows from ravens when perched or on the ground is also fairly solid, less so in flight which is how we often see them here in canyon country (southeast Utah). Habitat, habits and calls are helpful but unless seen flying solo or in pairs along canyon walls (ravens) or as a "murder" (crows) I frequently find it difficult to decide what I'm looking at. Although we are shown as being on the edge of their range, American crows are often seen here in large numbers.
      • Desiree
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Weeziehupy
        I have a very hard time in general identifying birds in flight. Crows aren’t too difficult for me in New Orleans where I live, but I’m sure if I lived where you do with crows and ravens I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference until I heard their calls. I love your advice about watching to see how they group together and where they go. I did not know ravens are usually single or in pairs!
      • J
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        JimFeet

        @Desiree In my limited experience (although with many years of canyon hiking behind me), I've often seen ravens soaring along or above the canyon walls. In springtime, we frequently see them as pairs. They like to nest in sheltered alcoves or openings on the cliff faces. They'll often perch on a dead snag or rock ledge where they command a good view.

    • Ron G.
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      RonG1945
      I’m still having trouble with ravens and crows.  If I see a small flock - say 5 -  does that mean it can’t be a raven?
      • Susan
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        susangreta
        That's interesting! Where are you seeing them? I always see ravens - in Reykjavik - and in the countryside - and in NYC - as single or pairs. Never flocks, but I've seen young ravens in a flock in the winter (a friend feeds them!). I always assume a flock is crows - I often see a flock feeding on someone's lawn, or mobbing each other over food items on the building roof across from me in NYC.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      James949
      I am confident that I can distinguish crows from other birds (though perhaps not yet from ravens) especially the babies, although I doubt that I will ever get that close. "Our" fledgling was walking about on our porch as a friend arrived for dinner. Oh! the out cry from parents and relatives as he approached! I wish I had seen the youngster.
    • DLadetto
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      DLadetto
      Sometimes from a distance I’ll see a crow or a grackle walking by itself picking at stuff in the lawn. From a distance, when you can’t gauge size, they still seem confusing to me. However, I’ll try to pay more attention to see if there are posture, walking, or behavioral differences I can spot.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      amystrahl
      I'm not as good as I'd like to be in distinguishing a Crow from a Raven.  I think I just need more experience and/or practice.  The lesson was clear.  I do better on your photo ID quizzes when the bird comparison is from the same aspect.
    • karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      karensantee
      I am confident in my ability to distinguish crows from ravens, however, we do not have ravens where I live.
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