South Coast Ravens redux

Paul Lehman

Not to beat a dead horse on the status of Common Ravens along the South Coast of SBA, but a couple folks were mis-quoting what "Birds of Santa Barbara County" says--as they were quoting what the book says about the raven's status back in the 1990s, when they were indeed "casual" along the coast between Goleta and Gaviota, though no longer. Here is what I say in BOSB about its CURRENT South Coast status:

"The spread of ravens in Santa Barbara County was first hinted at by the increase in numbers and early nesting in the Carpinteria area discussed above. Along the South Coast, 1996 brought reports from Carpinteria Salt Marsh and Padaro Lane near Carpinteria, Summerland, “the Mesa” in Santa Barbara, and Farren Road in western Goleta. In 1997, the species was also seen at Montecito and Gaviota. In 1998, there were sightings from upper Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara, and in Goleta. And in 1999, 4 juveniles were noted at the San Marcos Foothills in Santa Barbara. Since 2000, additional records have accrued at an increasing rate, including single birds well out on the coastal plain at More Mesa, along South Patterson Avenue, and over Atascadero Creek, Goleta, on 16 March 2001, 23 September 2001, and 24 February 2002, respectively. Sightings over the foothill regions along the South Coast have since become routine, though reports from well out over the coastal plain, such as near the immediate coast in Goleta and Santa Barbara, continue to be very rare and high counts do not exceed 4 birds. The highest pre-1990s Santa Barbara CBC total was 14 individuals (29 December 1984), although almost all other counts were below 5 birds. Since the mid-1990s, the highest count total is 13 birds on 5 January 2002. (A total of 450 reported on the CBC in December 1968 is certainly in error.) An exceptional 48 individuals were reported above Carpinteria 13 May 2018."

It should also be said that the opposite Raven vs. Crow problem continues in the Cuyama Valley--where some folks report CROWS without any details from the Valley floor, where they are largely rare to very rare, but where Ravens, of course, are numerous.

--Paul Lehman