Common raven (Corvus corax) are members of the crow family and are widely distributed in Northern Canada, the Western United States, Alaska, portions of Western Mexico and the Appalachian mountains east of the Mississippi River.
Due to their range and habits, the common raven is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918).
Raven can reach lengths up to 27 inches long, and wingspans of about 4 feet. Raven can also achieve weights up to 5 pounds. In appearance, raven are shiny black like crows, but have a humped shaped beak and are more solitary and territorial than crows.
Raven are extremely adaptable, and have successfully exploited human development more than a large number of species. Raven take advantage of landfills and road kill for a food source, as well as being a known predator of endangered species such as juvenile desert tortoises, eggs of California condors, and the young of Marbled murrelets and Least terns. Raven will arrive “on scene” to road kill carcasses and other domestic and wildlife carrion hours before larger scavengers, such as vultures and California condors.
Raven are known for not only raiding landfills, but foraging carrion left behind by both hunters and apex predators. Researchers in Wyoming have allegedly linked lead projectile fragment ingestion by raven to gutpiles left in the field by hunters. These same researchers consider raven as “surrogates” for lead fragment ingestion by species listed under the Endangered Species Act, such as grizzly bears and the formerly listed Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf-Distinct Population Segment in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon.
Hunt for Truth is monitoring raven management and control plans for any indication of objective evidence that ingestion of lead ammunition by ravens is the cause of lead poisoning.