Difference between revisions of "RAVENS"

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'''1897 San Clemente Island:'''  “''Corvus corax sinnuatus''—American Raven. Ravens were quite numerous and were nesting commonly on the cliffs and ledges on the canon sides. The nests were always placed in cavities or crevices in the face of the rock, and were composed of course sticks, lined with wool. As the occupied nests were inaccessible, no eggs were secured. Two skins of the Raven were taken on this island ...The party consisted of Joseph Grinnell, who had immediate charge of the expedition, and gave special attention to the ornithology and entomology of the islands; Horace Gaylord, who collected mammals; and Harry Gaylord and James Brittan [Britton] who devoted their time to archaeology. The party left San Pedro harbor May 11 in a large fishing schooner... [returning June 9, 1897]”
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<br> [[GRINNELL, Joseph|Grinnell, Joseph]]  ''The Islands of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente, in the Spring of 1897'' Pasadena Academy of Sciences Publication No. 1, August, 1897 (26 pages).
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Latest revision as of 18:03, 12 October 2019

RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Raven carcasses from a Golden Eagle nest,
Santa Cruz Island, 2006


RAVENS (Corvus corax), largest members of the crow family, are skilled fliers known for their aerobatic maneuvers and rolls. They are abundant residents on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands, as well as residents of Anacapa and San Miguel islands, and Santa Barbara Island transients. Historically, ravens were considered a great menace to livestock and vineyards on the islands. Ravens are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passiformes, family Corvidae. Ravens are bigger than crows and often occur in pairs or alone, as opposed to crows which commonly occur in flocks. There are no crows on the California Channel Islands.

There was a saying in Spanish used by an old time vaquero on Santa Cruz Island that Ravens:

son las almas de los indios. Vuelvan a molestar los blancos which translates as the Ravens are the souls of the Indians that have returned to molest the white men.

Early Raven collectors include: Henry W. Henshaw who collected ravens on Santa Cruz Island on June 11, 1875 now in the the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. Two raven skins from Santa Catalina Island are in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History: one collected by Clark P. Streator in 1892 (#139471) and the other by Howard Wright in 1908 (#417023). A raven skull collected by Paul Schumacher on Santa Catalina Island in 1875 is in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (#15662). Edgar A. Mearns collected four raven skins from San Clemente Island in 1894 also in the collections (#113456-135459).


CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT RAVENS




ANACAPA ISLAND

1903 Anacapa Island: “On the 4th of September, 1903, I was landed from a yacht onto Ana Capa Island... My stay on the Island was limited to less than an hour; but besides that I was permitted to coast along nearly the whole length of the island in a small boat....Besides the usual seabirds of the region I saw the following: one pair of Mexican Ravens (Corvus corax sinuatus)...”
Grinnell, Joseph Some Birds of Ana Capa Island The Condor 10(3):130, May-June 1908


SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND

1897 San Clemente Island:Corvus corax sinnuatus—American Raven. Ravens were quite numerous and were nesting commonly on the cliffs and ledges on the canon sides. The nests were always placed in cavities or crevices in the face of the rock, and were composed of course sticks, lined with wool. As the occupied nests were inaccessible, no eggs were secured. Two skins of the Raven were taken on this island ...The party consisted of Joseph Grinnell, who had immediate charge of the expedition, and gave special attention to the ornithology and entomology of the islands; Horace Gaylord, who collected mammals; and Harry Gaylord and James Brittan [Britton] who devoted their time to archaeology. The party left San Pedro harbor May 11 in a large fishing schooner... [returning June 9, 1897]”
Grinnell, Joseph The Islands of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente, in the Spring of 1897 Pasadena Academy of Sciences Publication No. 1, August, 1897 (26 pages).


1907 San Clemente Island:Corvus corax sinuatus. Mexican Raven. Abundant resident. Nesting in the cliffs, often on ledges directly over the water. A large series preserved. Among these were several specimens that would easily have passed for the much sought for “Clarion Island Raven.” It is my opinion they are Corvus corax sinuatus birds-of-the-year. The size and general appearance coincide with the description of the Clarion Island Raven. Althogh common at present the ravens are being rapidly exterminated thru the use of poisoned carcasses, by the sheep men who (rightfully) accuse them of killing many young lambs.” [“Visits were made to Clemente in January, February, March, April and October, 1907.”]
Linton, C. B. Notes from San Clemente Island The Condor 10:82-86, March 1908


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island Joseph Grinnell MVZ March 28, 1897 MVZ-33847 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Clemente Island A. W. Anthony Carnegie MNH August 23, 1894 CMNH-17046 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Clemente Island Edgar A. Mearns NMNH August 24, 1894 USNM-135456 Corvus corax Birds
San Clemente Island A. W. Anthony Carnegie MNH August 25, 1894 CMNH-17047 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Clemente Island A. W. Anthony Carnegie MNH August 25, 1894 CMNH-17048 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Clemente Island A. W. Anthony Carnegie MNH August 25, 1894 CMNH-17049 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Clemente Island Edgar A. Mearns NMNH August 25, 1894 USNM-135457 Corvus corax Birds
San Clemente Island Edgar A. Mearns NMNH August 25, 1894 USNM-135458 Corvus corax Birds
San Clemente Island Edgar A. Mearns NMNH August 28, 1894 USNM-135459 Corvus corax Birds
San Clemente Island O. W. Howard WFVZ April 5, 1905 WFVZ-118645 Corvus corax Eggs


SAN MIGUEL ISLAND

January 14, 1888 [Minnie Waters’ diary]: “Will [Captain William G. Waters] shot a big crow [raven] this afternoon. Wish he could shoot them all.”


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Miguel Island J. E. Green MVZ September 21, 1927 MVZ-51498 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Chester Lamb MVZ September 22, 1927 MVZ-51499 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island J. E. Green MVZ September 25, 1927 MVZ-51498 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Chester Lamb MVZ September 25, 1927 MVZ-51500 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31311 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31312 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31313 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31314 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31315 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31316 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31317 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31318 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31319 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31320 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31321 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31322 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31323 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31324 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31325 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31326 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31327 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31328 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31329 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31330 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31331 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31332 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31334 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31334 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31335 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31336 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31337 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31338 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31339 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Miguel Island Herbert Lester UCLA Spring 1930 UCLA-31340 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds


SAN NICOLAS ISLAND

'1897 San Nicolas Island:Corvus corax sinuatus—American Raven. Common. One specimen taken...The party consisted of Joseph Grinnell, who had immediate charge of the expedition, and gave special attention to the ornithology and entomology of the islands; Horace Gaylord, who collected mammals; and Harry Gaylord and James Brittan [Britton] who devoted their time to archaeology. The party left San Pedro harbor May 11 in a large fishing schooner... [returning June 9, 1897]”
Grinnell, Joseph The Islands of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente, in the Spring of 1897 Pasadena Academy of Sciences Publication No. 1, August, 1897 (26 pages).


1945:' Ornithologist Egmont Rett reported on San Nicolas Island: “Several pet ravens hung around the camp and came at [the cook's] call, and when he was jeeping with us over the island, Jim, Blackie and Sue would fly for miles following us.” Ravens are larger than crows; they often appear alone, in pairs, or with a few offspring, but not in flocks like crows; and they occur in dry open areas.


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island C. B. Linton MCZ January 9, 1909 MCZ-316377 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
San Nicolas Island A. J. Van Rossem UCLA February 24, 1929 UCLA-26024 Corvus corax sinuatis Birds
San Nicolas Island A. J. Van Rossem UCLA February 24, 1929 UCLA-26025 Corvus corax sinuatis Birds
San Nicolas Island H. H. Sheldon UCLA May 8, 1929 UCLA-27509 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds


SANTA BARBARA ISLAND

1897 Santa Barbara Island:Corvus corax sinuatus — American Raven. Several pairs were seen about the island. A nest containing two nearly-fledged young was situated on a narrow ledge of rock on the face of a cliff on the north side of the island. It was perhaps 150 feet above the surf. The Ravens were eventually subsisting on the eggs and young of the sea-birds which were nesting so numerously on this island. ...The party consisted of Joseph Grinnell, who had immediate charge of the expedition, and gave special attention to the ornithology and entomology of the islands; Horace Gaylord, who collected mammals; and Harry Gaylord and James Brittan [Britton] who devoted their time to archaeology. The party left San Pedro harbor May 11 in a large fishing schooner... [returning June 9, 1897]”
Grinnell, Joseph The Islands of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente, in the Spring of 1897 Pasadena Academy of Sciences Publication No. 1, August, 1897 (26 pages).


SANTA BARBARA ISLAND: “November 11-12, 1928. Some new records for Santa Barbara Island… Two ravens were noted. They have been doubtlessly attracted to the island by some recently imported sheep which are rapidly dying because of the absence of fresh water on this island. There will be plenty of wool for their nests next spring.”
Pemberton, J. R. Some new records for Santa Barbara Island The Condor 31(1):37, January, 1929


SANTA CATALINA ISLAND

1905-1906 Santa Catalina Island:Corvus corax sinuatus. Mexican Raven. Very common. Most any time several could be seen flying about, and uttering a peculiar clicking note. On April 19, 1905, a nest containing six eggs was found. It was built in a wild cherry tree fifteen feet from the ground, and was made of good-sized sticks, lined with black and white sheeps ’ wool. Incubation was fresh in every egg but one, that being slightly addled.” [“These notes are the result of two brief sojourns on Santa Catalina Island in the month of April, eight days being spent in 1905, and five in 1906. Fortunately both trips were made after wet seasons; the hills were carpeted with grass, flowers and insects were abundant.”]
Richardson, Charles H., Jr. Spring Notes from Santa Catalina Island The Condor 10(2):65-68, March 1908


April 18, 1897 [NYT]: “California Island life… A story of some foxes without tails, cunning ravens with a fondness for chickens, bald eagles in plenty… Perhaps the most interesting birds on Santa Catalina are the ravens, which live near the little town of Avalon, and amuse themselves by pulling vocal corks and robbing the fishermen. The methods of these birds well illustrate their cunning...”


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Catalina Island C. P. Streator NMNH April 26, 1892 USNM-139471 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island Frank Stephens MCZ March 25, 1893 MCZ-187936 Corvus corax Birds
Santa Catalina Island C. H. Richardson WFVZ April 19, 1905 WFVZ-113833 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Catalina Island H. W. Wright CAS September 3, 1907 CAS-77570 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island H. W. Wright NMNH September 3, 1907 USNM-417023 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island H. W. Wright CAS September 8, 1908 CAS-77569 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island H. W. Wright NMNH March 23, 1910 USNM-417023 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island unknown UMMZ April 15, 1917 UMMZ-113413 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds
Santa Catalina Island Irwin D. Nokes WFVZ February 7, 1915 WFVZ-2357 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Catalina Island Alden H. Miller MVZ March 21, 1921 MVZ-3950 Corvus corax sinuatus Eggs


SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

1886 Santa Cruz Island: Eli Whitney Blake, Jr. camped at Platt's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island twice in 1886: first from July 4-July 24, 1886 and again on August 6-September 3, 1886. During his visits, Blake camped in a canyon near Platt's Harbor. He noted:

Corvus corax sinuatus. American Raven. — Very common; feeds on the dead sheep. Nests on inaccessible cliffs, often at some distance from the sea.


1897 Santa Cruz Island: “With much interest I read Mr. Jos. Mailliard's article on the birds of Santa Cruz Island in the May-June number of the Bulletin, and finding his experience different from mine in some particulars, I submit a few notes taken principally on the west end of the island in May, 1897... Four or five ravens ’ nests were found, one containing four eggs. The others had young in various stages of growth. The nests were in holes among the rocks and cliffs in steep gulches, with but one exception. This was placed in an overhanging cliff, twenty feet from the top and high above the ocean, and contained four young on the 8th of May. R. H. BECK. Berryessa, Cal., June 15, 1899. ”
Beck, R.H. Additional Notes on the Birds of Santa Cruz Island, Cal., 1899


1898 Santa Cruz Island: “...Following is a list of birds observed during my stay:- American Raven (Corvus corax sinnuatus ); ...”
Mailliard, Jos., Spring Notes on the Birds of Santa Cruz Island, Cal., April,1898 The Condor 1(1):41-45, April 1899


1907 Santa Cruz Island:Corvus corax sinuatus. American Raven. Several specimens taken by Mr. Willett and myself. Among these were specimens corresponding with the description of the supposed Clarion Island Raven. These are undoubtedly Corvus corax sinuatus. ” [“At 11:30 p. m., November 19, 1907, my father (H. Linton), Mr. George Willett, and myself left San Pedro harbor in a dilapidated fishing smack and in company with a crawfisherman, one “Cold-foot” Jorgensen. We arrived off the south end of Santa Cruz Island at 10:30 the following day during a stiff norwester. For various reasons we were unable to make camp until the 22nd. It may not be amiss to state here that twice during the blow we were nearly wrecked: once while at anchor in Potatoe Harbor, a broken anchor allowing the boat to drift within the breaker line and nearly onto the rocks. In this instance the timely arrival of Willett and H. Linton in a small boat, saved the day, and incidentally the fishing smack. At another time (the engine having broken down) we were blown nearly onto the rocks of Anacapa Island; but with father at the wheel and Willett and I on the “sheet” we managed to hold her off. I mention the foregoing, and the many sleepless nights spent on the rocky shores, “running” the surf several times each day (with attendant duckings), etc., merely as a warning to those who seem inclined to believe a field naturalist’s life “strewn with roses”. (Its ’ generally strewn with cacti!)”]
Linton, C. B. Notes from Santa Cruz Island] The Condor 10(3):124-129, May 1908


May 20, 1918 [SCICo]: “…The actual expense of herding [the sheep] will be apparently a good deal greater than by our present methods, but will really prove to be less: the loss of sheep from ravens, wild hogs and fishermen will be materially reduced…”


1919-1923: The crows [ravens] were the most ornery, mean, audacious, intelligent, and interesting of all the birds. There were a number of them who made the Main Ranch their hangout. Hangout is the only word that fits the place where such a bunch of thieves and cut-throats made their home… Occasionally when I thought there were too many of them, that they were getting too cocky, or maybe I was just tired of their cawing, I would take my shotgun, walk down towards the matanza and give them a bad time. Some would fly up and perch in the tall eucalyptus trees and others would gather in a clear spot on the hillside about a quarter of a mile away but every one of them would spend the next half hour telling me what they thought of me and all my relatives.” They would peck the eyes out of newborn sheep and calves to gain a meal. » McElrath, Clifford On Santa Cruz Island 1967.


1919-1923 “The stableman, Abelino Lugo, a dour old California Spaniard who seemed to croak with the voice of doom when he spoke, would look at the crows [ravens] and remark half to himself, “son las almas de los indios. Vuelvan a molestar los blancos” (They are the souls of the Indians. They have returned to pester the white people.) After I had been on the island for a while I more than half way believed he was right.” » McElrath, CLifford On Santa Cruz Island, 1967.


January 1920: “In January of this year I picked up in a field at Santa Cruz Island, California, a pellet presumably ejected by a Raven (Corvus corax sinuatus). The pellet was three inches long with a diameter of one inch. It was examined by Mr. H. C. Bryant, of the California Fish and Game Commission, who writes: ‘Without pulling the pellet to pieces, I discovered the following elements: parts of two Camel crickets (Stenopalmatus sp.); parts of grasshoppers; 20 seeds of Poison Oak (Rhus diversiloba); hulls of Wild Oats (Avena fatua).’…” Ralph Hoffmann. Auk 37(3):453-454, July 1920.


September 21, 1920 [SCICo]: McElrath requested the grapes be picked at once to avoid loss through ravens. The total grape output for 1920 was low largely due to the actions of these birds. Long the subject of superstition and legend, ravens can be tamed and taught to mimic human speech.


September 27, 1920 [SCICo]: “I hardly think the total output [of grapes] will reach 100 tons this year largely due to the combined actions of hogs and crows [ravens.] The last mentioned having taken a sudden and very strong liking for grapes. Last year the yield was 137 tons. I believe that with enough men to properly care for and guard the vineyard against hogs and crows [ravens] this year’s yield could be doubled or nearly so.”


[1922 Symes Report]: “Eagles and ravens are responsible for a loss in sheep, particularly very young lambs.”


January 3, 1939 [SBNP]: The Santa Barbara News Press reported that the Santa Cruz Island Company was appealing for government aid in fighting ravens because they “attack and destroy newly-born lambs and sheep that for any reason are too weak to protect themselves.” The ravens are described as “worse than either hogs or eagles because they were more difficult to eradicate. Trapping, shooting and poisoning have been a means of defense taken by the island owners, but a more systematic means of ridding the island must be taken.”


August 29-September 14, 1948 [O. P. Pearson Field Notes]: “… In the evening talked with Red Craine, the ship captain and manager. He says Stanton brought in 20,000 tame ewes one year, but had trouble with ravens attacking the lambs…”


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Cruz Island J. A. Horning MLZ November 20, 1914 MLZ-66327 Corvus corax Birds
Santa Cruz Island J. A. Horning UCLA n. d. UCLA-4471 Corvus corax Birds
Santa Cruz Island J. A. Horning UCLA November 23, 1914 UCLA-4472 Corvus corax Birds
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Canterbury WFVZ April 12, 1918 WFVZ-34562 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Canterbury SBMNH April 13, 1918 SBMNH-24944 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Canterbury SBMNH March 27, 1919 SBMNH-24945 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island W. L. Dawson SBMNH April 15, 1919 SBMNH-24947 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Canterbury SBMNH April 17, 1919 SBMNH-24948 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island W. L. Dawson SBMNH April 22, 1919 SBMNH-24949 Corvus corax Eggs
Santa Cruz Island Loye Miller UCLA August 1, 1922 UCLA-40461 Corvus corax Birds
Santa Cruz Island M. M. Peet UMMZ November 4, 1935 UMMZ-234919 Corvus corax sinuatus Birds


SANTA ROSA ISLAND

March 23, 1876 [BowersFN]: “Santa Rosa Island. I was struck with the abundance of ravens on this island. I have not seen this bird for many years in the states.”


April 2, 1876 [BowersFN]: “Santa Rosa Island. I found an eagle’s nest with two eggs.”


May 8, 1876 [SBDN]: “Santa Rosa Island... Birds are numerous, the most noticeable being the bald eagle and the raven... The ravens are abundant and very tame...”


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Rosa Island D. S. DeGroot & Alice DeGroot WFVZ March 22, 1928 WFVZ-59131 Corvus corax Eggs