The Raven (Corvus corax), the largest of our native crows, is so emblematic of The Wrekin it even has a local geological feature named after it. According to folklore, the tiny depression atop the Raven’s Bowl that lends the rocky outcrop its name is said never to run dry of water. In much the same way, it’s hard to imagine the hill itself without the abiding ‘cronks’ and ‘pruks’ of this garrulous resident. Like the many thousands of visitors who trek up and down The Wrekin, these acrobatic birds do not limit themselves to just the hilltop either, and can maintain large territories with a number of nesting sites (an activity that takes place in late winter). In this regard, they have been aided by the presence of the numerous old stone quarries around the forest, inhabiting the type of rocky crags also favoured by Peregrines. Adult Ravens don’t tend to move very far and, happily, after years of persecution they are a growing presence in the local landscape once more. Winter is also a good time to look out for juvenile birds, which sometimes form the type of nighttime roosts more commonly associated with Rooks and Jackdaws.
Quick ID: acrobatic crow (similar in size to Common Buzzard) with large bill, shaggy throat feathers, long ‘deeply-fingered’ wings and diamond-shaped tail. Distinctive deep croaking call.
When and Where: the Wrekin hilltop and old stone quarries around the forest, including Maddock’s Hill. Large Scots Pines are also worth checking for potential nest sites (examples have been found both on The Wrekin and in Limekiln Wood), while Raven have been recorded near the Severn at Buildwas and Leighton.Back to top ten