The Wenatchee Castlerock trail system is my favorite hiking route. I wrote about this special place in January. When hiking the sunny side of the castle, or the “Mountain Goat” route, I’ll sometimes hear a family of ravens in their nest.

Jay Rule Productions (via YouTube)
Jay Rule Productions (via YouTube)

A couple years ago, Castlerock was home to a family of crows. What caused the crows to move out? Did the ravens conduct a hostile takeover? How can I tell the difference between the sounds of a common raven and a common crow?

The first thing I notice is that the raven is a much larger bird than the crow. Ravens also have a much larger beak.

Common crows, here in Washington State, make a very distinct and loud call: They seem to yell “ CAW CAW CAW!”

The common raven seem to have a more laid back call that says: “Rock….rock”

Crows caw. Ravens rock.

Another way to tell the difference between the two, is crows seem to flap their wings a lot when flying from tree to tree. Ravens will hold their wings still and soar just like a hawk or an eagle.

Both of these big black birds are extremely intelligent. A recent study suggests that the common crow’s smarts are about the same as a seven year old human.

If you get a crow mad, you’d better watch out. It will tell its family that you’re bad news. Imagine getting a group of 2nd graders upset at you? I don't like the idea of that.

According to National Geographic, the intelligence of a raven is on par with humans and great apes.  I knew ravens and crows were smart - but this smart? 

If you see me on the trail seemingly talking out loud to myself, I’m probably saying hi to the newly moved in Castlerock raven family.

INFO SOURCES: Real Smart (YouTube channel), National

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