Observations on the American Raven in Southern California
Observations on the American Raven in Southern California.
BY C. B. LINTON
DURING my collecting experience I have found the American Raven (Corvus corax sinuatus) nesting in almost every range of foothills in Los Angeles and neighboring counties. Although it is being continually driven deeper into the wildest and most inaccessible portions of its former haunts by the encroachment of civilization, it is still abundant in certain localities. In the Puente hills of Los Angeles County I have taken numerous sets of eggs of the American Raven in the past four years. A tramp of a day or two through this range will reveal to the collector dozens of large, compact nests now unused excepting by an occasional Great Horned Owl or Western Redtail, whereas they were formerly occupied by ravens.
In February, 1895, I found my first pair of ravens putting the finishing touches to a huge nest built on a ledge of rock about fifty feet from the bottom of a ninety foot cliff. I was greatly discouraged at first as this nest seemed inaccessible, but on March 14 I persuaded a friend to climb to it, and he being experienced in the art, reached the nest without difficulty and secured a handsome set of five fresh eggs, which measured 2.09 x 1.37; 2.06 x 1.37; 2.04 x 1.35; 1.88 x 1.31 and 1.79 x 1.28. In color they were bluish-green, heavily covered with blotches of dark brown and quite similar to eggs of the American Crow. A set of four slightly incubated eggs was taken from this nest on March 28 and I procured another set of six eggs from a neighboring cliff on April 20, evidently from the same pair of birds. The eggs of this set vary greatly in size and coloration, one being very small and slightly marked.
I have noticed quite an oddity in three sets of eggs taken from a pair of birds in 1897. Each egg has a "knob" on the larger end, making the series quite a curiosity, and I have noticed the same deformity in a set taken this season (1899) from a new nest near the site of the old ones, the new nest being composed of the remnants of the several old ones, with some additions. The raven is very persistent and I have known one pair to lay four sets of eggs in one season and would probably have laid a fifth but unfortunately the nest was destroyed.
I have occasionally found them nesting in the steep banks of deep, narrow gulches, but usually they prefer a large gravel cliff in some secluded part of the hills, and in every instance the nests have been lined with sheep's wool gathered from the numerous bands of sheep feeding in the vicinity. I had intended to pay my respects to the ravens this year but have been otherwise engaged. However I procured a handsome set of Duck Hawk 1/3 from a deserted raven's nest on April 5, 1899, and feel that since I cannot help it, that I should allow my birds a short vacation.