Common Raven (Corvus corax) Corvidae

Palouse Falls State Park, WA
June 8, 2015
Robert Niese

Ravens are always the first birds to greet me upon reaching the sagebrush deserts of eastern Washington. 

Northwestern/American Crow (Corvus caurinus/brachyrhynchos) Corvidae

Cape Flattery, WA
August 19, 2014
Robert Niese

While, as a scientist, I seriously doubt the validity of the “Northwestern” distinction for our PNW crows, if there were ever a crow that could be called a “Northwest Crow” it would have to be one at Cape Flattery (the northwestern-most point in the contiguous US). Northwestern Crows are, however, likely a subspecies of the American Crow and can only be identified based on their range of occurrence, which undoubtedly overlap for most regions.

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) wing, Corvidae

No Data Available
Specimen courtesy of the Slater Museum
Photo by Robert Niese

The wings of Black-billed Magpies are quite striking. The deep black feathers covering most of their bodies are actually startlingly iridescent and starkly contrast with the white windows on their outer wing feathers. This contrast could be utilized as a form of visual communication during flight.