Breeding Bird Atlas 1 Additional Accounts

Common Raven


Corvus corax

Common Ravens may have nested in our area when the Pilgrims arrived; however, the species must have met an early demise with the spread of European colonization. The only specific reference to what may have been a historic Massachusetts nesting locality was Ragged Mountain in Adams, Berkshire County, during the late 1800s (Forbush 1927). It was not until 1982 that the first definitive confirmation of nesting in Massachusetts was obtained, when recently fledged young were observed being fed at Quabbin Reservoir, Worcester County (Gagnon). Since then, raven numbers have steadily increased in central and western Massachusetts, and in 1999 breeding was established in Ashland, Middlesex County (French). Increasingly frequent reports of ravens in eastern Massachusetts, especially Essex County, suggest that further expansion may still be taking place. In Massachusetts, Common Ravens seem to have a preference for nesting on cliff ledges, in quarry pits, and in the stone spillways of dammed rivers, although tree nests have also been found.

Common Ravens are often seen at favored hawk-watching sites such as Mount Watatic and Wachusett Mountain in Worcester County, and in winter at Quabbin Reservoir, where they can occasionally be observed on the ice feeding with Bald Eagles.