They arrived a few days after we spread a load of pecan shells in the planting beds–six or seven at a time swooped down into the yard. Crows or ravens? When I saw their huge beaks and heard their deep, croaky voices, I knew–Corvus corax, the common raven.
They came for the pecan scraps, but may have stayed for the eggs and baby birds that I suspect are (or were) out back in the stand of pinyons and junipers. Twice, I’ve seen a magpie chase one of them out of the trees.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology advises on their website, All About Birds, that you can attract common ravens to your backyard by, among other things, “not putting the top securely on your garbage can,” and goes on to say, “these tactics might cause more trouble than they’re worth . . . (they) may then raid nests in your yard.”
What they don’t tell you is how to get rid of them once they have moved in. Since reading that crows (close cousins to ravens) recognize human faces, I’ve been hesitant to aggravate the smart birds. I don’t relish one of them spotting me downtown and giving me a public scolding.