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
Continue Reading →

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)
Continue Reading →

Common Fiddleneck ( Amsinckia intermedia )

The Common Fiddleneck ( Amsinckia intermedia ) is a wildflower common across the United States and a member of the forget-me-not-family. Also known as the Intermediate Fiddleneck, the name is derived from the flower stems which are formed in the appearance of a violin or fiddle.

Common Fiddleneck ( Amsinckia intermedia var. intermedia )
Common Fiddleneck ( Amsinckia intermedia var. intermedia )
Continue Reading →

Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis )

The Western Fence Lizard ( Sceloporus occidentalis ) is perhaps one of the most common lizards in the desert southwest and is also known as a “Blue belly”. Perhaps this commonality is the reason for its name. The Western Fence lizard is found in a variety of habitats and common at elevations up to 10,800 feet. They can be located in forests, desert sage, farmlands and grasslands. This species is typically not found in harsh desert climates and moist forests.

Western Fence Lizard
Western Fence Lizard

This animal is typically between 2 inches and 3.5 inches in length. They are typically black to brown in colors with stripes on their backs. They have blue colored patches on their ventral abdomen. This reptiles will lay clutches of eggs between 3 and 17 eggs in the spring between April and July. The eggs will hatch within two months of feralization.

This animal are known to eat insects including ant, beetles, flies, spiders and some caterpillars. They typically can be found sunning themselves on rocks, fences and paths. The are a prey item for other animals including larger lizards, birds and also some a mammals. As is common with most reptiles, the lizard is known to hibernate in cooler winter months.

Resources