how to catch a raven bird

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Corvus corax is notoriously neophobic. Dan Stahler, a research biologist with Yellowstone National Park, alluded to this fear of novelty. He completed his master’s degree work under renowned raven researcher Bernd Heinrich here in Yellowstone. In the Park, Dan discovered during his graduate work that, in the majority of wolf kills, ravens were present during the chase sequence and stayed at the carcass to feed alongside wolves after the death of the prey. The longest period of time it took for ravens to begin eating was roughly sixty seconds. On the other hand, the birds were very cautious around carcasses that Dan had left, like an elk that had been hit by a car. In the summary of his thesis, Dan wrote that Hawkins found only 2036 percent (N = 2025) of the experimentally placed carcasses in the same study region and did not land or feed the animals despite the availability of unattended exposed meat. This is generally supported by my own observations of ravens in the field; when something unexpected shows up, it may take several hours, if at all, before the other ravens think about feeding. Furthermore, it is understandable why the capture of fewer than a dozen ravens has happened gradually in the absence of wolves to attest to the legitimacy of our offerings. Throughout my stints of assistance, none have been netted, and I’m starting to worry that I might be the jinx.

The questions these observations raise are endless: are parents once again being obedient children, or are these learned behaviors that are passed down from parents to children? Furthermore, as of this writing, two birds have taken things even further abroad: a raven that was captured close to Old Faithful began traveling regularly to West Yellowstone, Montana, and one day it briefly flew to Idaho Falls, Idaho, before veering off course and landing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After being discovered by John in the Lamar Valley next to a bison carcass, another bird left for the north, making several stops along the way, including near Gardiner, Emigrant, in the heart of the Paradise Valley, and Harlowtown, Montana, which is about 100 miles from the tagging location.

John and Matthias use their headlamps to prepare the trigger mechanism and load the trap in the predawn darkness. A fox barks in the distant darkness. Magpies burst into chatter as dawn approaches, flocking to the bait pile in numbers of forty. Not long after, their bigger, darker cousins start to amass. Soon, the air is filled with croaks, “kaws,” and the sound of feeding calls, “Hhaaaaa!” The initial ravens to arrive in the meadow hover nearby. Before long, a black semicircle forms around the meat and diligent magpies The first dubious ravens approach the food with caution, sidestepping with a cautious gait. “One’s on the carcass,” says Matthias. “Now two, three. The ravens soon overtake the magpies, and others attack when they see their friends taking advantage of the opportunity to forage. “Six, eight, twelve,” the count goes up. And then everything goes haywire when the remote triggering button is pressed. Birds explode in an upwards rush of wings. Six of the birds are now bouncing beneath the net like coal-colored popcorn, which is the most of any single capture event for the study to date (we would later best this tally, so look for the upcoming blog post on how that went down!). The majority of the birds fly away. Even though the majority of them fled for freedom, they are now wiser and will never forget this.

**More updates about the study will be posted on Facebook and here—follow along and learn with us!**

Marking another forty-five birds would be great to see how widespread some of these patterns actually are, but it seems a bit wishful thinking. In an attempt to help, I persuade Matthias to attempt the unusual strategy of a mock hunt, which includes dressing up a roadkill deer in hunter orange, shooting a rifle, and removing the insides to set it next to a trap. That doesn’t work either. As it happened, our plans were derailed by a real gut pile a mile to the north, so we had to start over from scratch. What we actually needed was a location where the ravens were already at ease so that we could set up bait there and give them a few quiet days before setting the trap. The perfect combination of a historic bone dump close to our house and important contacts in the hunting and wild game processing industries In the days that followed, I piled up leftover meat and deer and elk bones until the population of black scavengers skyrocketed. The scene was prepared for the day of the first capture attempt.


  • Although it might be feasible, using a net to capture a crow is not the most secure technique. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0 .
  • Crows are adept at spotting when something is a trap, and if they sense danger, they may stay away from a location for several months. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0 .
  • The best course of action is to leave the crows alone if they aren’t bothering you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0 .


How do you attract a raven?

You can attract ravens to your yard by leaving out large amounts of seed, grain, or pet food, or simply by not putting the top securely on your garbage can.

What is a raven’s favorite food?

In the wild, ravens are opportunistic feeders and their diet varies based on habitat and available food sources. They are omnivorous and will feed on everything from small mammals to nesting birds, eggs and berries. They will also eat carrion, scavenge from other predators and even from human landfills.

How do you capture a crow?

A well-maintained decoy trap can capture several crows each day, depending on size, location, and time of year. Cage traps, minimum size 60 x 23 x 26 inches, can be effective also. Traps should be stable and set with a light trigger.

How do you get rid of ravens?

Scaring Ravens Away: Audio and Visual Deterrents It is possible to drive away large flocks of ravens and other blackbirds with audio and visual scare devices such as the Bird Gard unit combined with visual scare devices like Scare Eye Balloons, Octopus, and Flash Tape reflective tape.