Residents of Longmire are accustomed to the hoarse croaking of the Ravens as each morning they flop lazily from their roosting and nesting rounds on the precipitous cliffs of Rampart Ridge to the broad boulder bars of the Nisqually where they feed. Again at dusk the inky birds with their mournful, frog-like croakings fly overhead on the return to the Ramparts.
In spite of their shyness of people and the outcry always started by the enraged Blue Jays and Camp Robbers, one occasionally becomes so bold as to drop down to the rear of the mess house and make a raid on the garbage cans there.
They are larger and shaggier than their cousins the crows and can be ditinguished by their incessant and much hoarser croaking. They are jet black except for a purplish luster on the back and a grayness about the neck. They are about two feet in length with a wing-spread of fully three feet.
Vernon Bailey's note in "Birds of the Western United States", describes the bird and his habits very well. Where tall, bare cliffs rise from the valleys and deep, steep walled canyons cut into the mountain ranges, the hoarse croaking of the ravens echo back from cliff and wall. The higher and more inaccessable the cliff and the more barren and deserted the valley below the better suited are the ravens and the more freely do they soar and croak, flying singly or in pairs, up and down along the face of the cliff with a spirited wildness that harmonizes well with their backgrounds. Suspecious wary pirates they are, always on the defense to avoid attack, they often are forced to mount to almost invisible heights to avoid being mobbed by smaller birds that seem to have permanent wrongs to avenge.
They descend to lake and river bar for dead fish or whatever the waves wash up in the way of food, make a few meals from a dead horse or the abandoned kill of some preditory animal and are accused of helping out their varied bill-of-fare with eggs and young birds from any bird's nest that comes handy. Their own nests, placed in a niche half way up some vertical cliff usually bids defiance to any enemy.
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