Letter | Published:

Ravens in the United States

Nature volume 29, page 478 | Download Citation



ON p. 336 of NATURE for February 7, Manhattan asks a question about “ravens.” I do not propose to answer his question, but to state a fact. I was raised from boyhood to manhood in Tioga Co., Penn., and in my boyhood days, when the primeval forests were broken only by the recent settler's small patch scattered here and there along the valleys, the raven was as common as the crow; nor could the one ever be mistaken for the other. Before I had attained the years of manhood, however, the raven had become a rara avis, while the crow, on the contrary, had become vastly more abundant. The bald-eagle, and the fish-hawk, too, were then very often seen, now seldom or never. Other birds could be added to the list if desirable. The question, why? is not so easily disposed of as it is to state the fact. Should one be disposed to answer by saying the rifle, it would be pertinent to reply that the rifle was just as active against the crow, the common hen-hawk, and the crow-blackbird, as it was against the raven, the fish-hawk, and the bald-eagle; but these latter birds have all disappeared, while, in spite of the rifle, the former have increased. We must look deeper for the cause.

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  1. Washington, D.C., March 3



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