Listen to the Sweet, Soft Warble Common Ravens Sing to Their Partners

Suspected to mate for life, Raven pairs serenade each other with these gentle "comfort sounds" while bonding.
This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.


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The Common Raven is our largest songbird, and it has a voice to match its size. We've visited ravens in the company of wolves and – in myth – taking control of the tides, changing the course of a river, even placing the sun in the sky. Ravens are seen as tricksters in many traditions. But ravens have their softer side, too. 

Common Ravens probably mate for life. And in the same way that a human couple sometimes has to work to maintain their attachment, a pair of ravens exhibits behaviors that strengthen their relationship, or “pair bond.”

Throughout the year, a pair of ravens may soar wingtip to wingtip, swooping in unison, tumbling through the sky. During courtship, the pair will often sit side by side, gently preening each other’s feathers. And during that ritual, they may make these warbling sounds. Raven nestlings sometimes make this same sound after they’ve been fed. Compared to the usual raucous raven calls, this one is soothing, to adults and to their young. It’s called … a “comfort sound”. 

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Written by Ellen Blackstone 

Producer: John Kessler 

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

Narrator: Michael Stein

Call of the Common Raven provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Warbling song of the Common Raven recorded by W.W.H. Gunn.  Raven calls recorded by G.A. Keller.

© 2015 Tune In to     February 2017