It continues to amaze me how versatile the vocal range of the American Crow and the Common Raven can be. Every day I am met with several of each species, whether they are resident, stopping over for a few days, or just passing through on their migration flight. Those individuals who alight on the tops of trees or circle in groups over the Point certainly make their voices heard. Even out of sight, it is more common to hear the occasional squawk, click, gurgle, croak, caw, doink, knock, snap, coo, or rattle than for there to be silence.
By far my favorite sound is made by the Common Raven — a very distinctive noise like a big drop of water hitting a puddle. I have personally named it the “doink” because that’s my impression of it, and hearing it always makes me smile. Each time I hear the call of a crow or raven, it sends me looking out over the treetops to try and spot the culprit. Often, the birds are perched in a tree or flying through the upper branches, making it difficult or even impossible to spy them. However, many times a day they fly out overhead or soar up into the open air before quickly diving into the trees again.
Both the American Crow and the Common Raven are feisty birds, the crow perhaps more so. A commotion of corvid calls may lead you to a raptor, as our inky black friends tend to mob and harass larger birds. It is certainly a sight to see when several crows soar out over a Red-tailed Hawk or Golden Eagle and start dive-bombing it. I love watching these mid-air “battles,” amazed at the agility, flexibility, and power of a soaring raptor. Next time you are out looking for hawks, maybe stop and listen to the vocal ability of your local corvids.
2019 Spring Hawk Counter