Today Wendy and I decided to get off our butts and go for a walk, especially since our butts were sore. A few ne’er-do-well snowflakes drifted past lazily, and a bazillion Snow Geese flew overhead in industrious Vs. We decided to see if there really was a difference between Common and Chihuahuan Ravens. We are friends with the northern Raven who stars in many legends (and is smarter than our politicians – and MUCH smarter than yours), but we haven’t gotten to know the Raven of the desert.
First we consulted our Sibley Guide to Birds. The first word he uses to describe the Common Raven is “uncommon.” The first word he uses to describe the Chihuahuan Raven is “common” (I'm taking some liberties here - Sibley's descriptions are accurate if you read more than the first word). Clutching that helpful information, we trained the scope on a Raven perched on a dead limb. It appeared to be reading a People Magazine, which led us to believe it was one of the Chihuahuan Ravens that is so common. However it wasn’t a People Magazine after all, but a bunch of dried leaves. Then the bird started preening, which ruffled its black feathers, which turned out to be white under the black, if you know what I mean. Its massive beak was much less massive than the huge beak of the less common, Common Raven so we concluded that it was a Chihuahuan for sure.
During the time that Wendy and I were reaching this startling conclusion, Malkolm added a bazillion birds to his “day-list” and found a new bird for his Bird Year list. It was an Aplomado Falcon which was glaring at him from the top of an AREA CLOSED sign. Unfortunately, Aplomado Falcons are not “countable” (don’t ask me, ask the American Birding Association). I don’t think that countable is even a word, but Malkolm decided that it didn’t count. I put it on his list anyway, especially since it was performing a valuable service for the National Wildlife Refuge system.