The Common Raven is not so common in Kentucky

Anita Durairaj

It may be called the Common Raven (Corvus corax) but it is not so common in Kentucky.

The Common Raven is one of the rarest birds in Kentucky today. It should not be confused with the American Crow.

At one time, ravens were found everywhere in the state during the time of early European settlement. The birds were mostly found in the forests of the Southeastern Cumberland Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.

Then the ravens seemed to disappear from Kentucky by the 1950s. The extirpation of the ravens was due to loss of forest habitat, human interference and persecution, and the absence of herbivores and carnivores that it relied on for food.

After a period of decades of absence, ravens were spotted again in Kentucky.

In 1985, the American Birds journal reported that the Common Raven had returned to Kentucky and was nesting in Pine Mountain. The bird is primarily known to nest on cliff ledges in isolated and remote mountainous areas. Thus, the sighting of the raven nest was important as it had rarely been documented in Kentucky.

Since then, raven nest sightings have only been spotted sporadically in the state.

Scientists believe that the presence of scavengers and carnivores could aid in the recolonization of ravens in Kentucky. Also, human interference and disturbance should be minimized in nesting areas.

The Common Raven is listed as a bird species of concern and also listed as threatened in Kentucky.

Scientists are continuing to monitor the presence of the bird and the status of the species in Kentucky.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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