Raven ( Corvus corax )

The Raven ( Corvus corax ) is one of eight subspecies of Ravens distributed throughout the world. Also known as western or northern raven, this large black bird is a member of the Corvidae family of birds which also contains crows, jays and magpies. This bird is a rather large and features solid black feathers which offers a dramatic and ominous appearance.

Raven ( Corvus corax ) sitting on a coral fence at the Grand Canyon Western Ranch.
Raven ( Corvus corax ) sitting on a coral fence at the Grand Canyon Western Ranch.

The raven is a large bird, known to average 25 inches in length and 2.6 pounds in weight and heaviest of the passerine or perching birds. This species is renowned for its intelligence and commonly used to test animal problem solving ability. This species has a world wide distribution and can thrive in a large variety of climates. The bird is an opportunistic omnivore finding sources of nutrition, feeding on carrion insects, grains, berries, fruit, small animals, other birds, and food waste. The are common features around campgrounds for the food sources left by human activity.

The raven has a long history with man in culture, literature and superstition. Many Native American tribes cultures regard the bird as a trickster or a cosmic messenger. Edgar Allen Poe’s infamous poem forever linked this bird with ominous overtones and symbolism for in western culture. The National Football Team even has a football team named for this special mischievous bird.

Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCorvus
Speciescorax

References

Stellars Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri )

The Stellars Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) is a common character found in the forests of the western half of the United States. The bird is an opportunistic omnivore and closely related to the Blue Jay. The Stellars Jay has a black crested head and a vibrant blue body which is commonly about between eleven and twelve inches long. This bird has a lot of variations depending on location.

Stellar's Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) stealing peanuts in Big Bear, California
A Stellar’s Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) stealing peanuts in Big Bear, California
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Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatium)

A member of the mustard family, the Western Wallflower ( Erysimum capitatium ) is a brightly colored yellow flower which is quite common across the western United States, including Arizona, Utah and Nevada.. In European countries, the wallflower earned its name from a habit of growing on… you guess it, walls. More specifically stone, masonry or wooden fences. The name was transposed to the American species despite the fact the plants have no preference for walls.

Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatium)
Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatium)
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Notch-leaved phacelia ( phacelia crenulata )

Notch-leaved phacelia ( phacelia crenulata ) is a lovely little purple wild flower which grows across the desert southwest from California to Texas. The plant is typically between three to twenty-four inches in height. The flower is also known by several different names including, notch-leaf scorpion-weed, notch-leaved phacelia, cleftleaf wildheliotrope, and heliotrope phacelia.

Notch-leaved phacelia
Notch-leaved phacelia
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Palmers Penstemon ( penstemon palmeri )

In the spring on 2020 I was photographing along the Morning Star Mine Road, we happened upon Palmers Penstemon ( penstemon palmeri ). This species is the most surprising and beautiful wild flowers I have seen in the Mojave Desert.

Penstemon palmeri plant found off Morning Star Mine Road
Penstemon palmeri plant found off Morning Star Mine Road
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