02.28.08–Athabascan Word of the Week


Raven = Dotron = Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan Indian Dialect

Common Raven = Corvus corax

Order: Passeriformes.

Family: Corvidae (jays, magpies, crows).

Range and Habitat: Year-round resident through most of Alaska; very adaptable, usually in coniferous forests, along rocky coasts, and in other fairly wild areas.

Size and Weight: length 16 inches, wingspan to 30 inches; 1 pound.

Diet: Primarily a scavenger, also takes rodents, bird eggs and young, and large insects.

Sounds: variety of hoarse croaking noises.

Biography: You’ll often find ravens congregating to scold a porcupine, owl, or eagle in a tree, or soaring in flocks above a predator or some other interesting activity on the ground. This large black bird with the wedge-shaped tail and stout bill is impossible to confuse with any other Alaskan bird. It is generally wary of humans, however, and is most frequently sighted riding high air currents or performing a variety of aerial acrobatics and mock fighting with friends. Raven tracks are usually clustered around a red stain on snow, or a shred of meat or bone on the ground, where these carnivorous birds have been picking some food prize apart. Tracks identical to these but smaller were probably made by gray jays or black-billed magpies, both of which are also common year-round residents throughout Alaska.

Works Cited:

Animal Tracks of Alaska by Chris Stall. Published in 1993 by The Mountaineers Publications, Seattle, WA.



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