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The Slice

Wed., Oct. 19, 2011, 5:53 a.m.

Know your corvids

A fair number of people around here can't tell the difference between crows and ravens.

And despite what some of my readers might suggest, I am not one of them.

Every time I mention crows in my column, I hear from someone who says "Those are actually ravens."

Sometimes this is said in a good-natured way. Sometimes not.

It's always puzzling to me that people would be so confident in their mistaken belief that they would not bother to check their facts before taking the liberty of "correcting" someone. But I suppose politics and matters of public policy aren't the only things about which some of us willingly embrace erroneous notions.

Yes, we have ravens around here. But they have several distinctive features. Look it up.

When I say I'm talking about crows, I'm talking about crows.

So what explains the fact that so many people are confused? I've thought about this. And I think it all goes back to childhood cartoons and comic books featuring crows with yellow beaks. Some people see a black beak and assume it can't be a crow.

If you have another theory, I'd love to hear it.

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The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.