Compiled and Edited by
Robert 'Roy' J. van de Hoek
Volume 37, Page 453
A Raven Pellet. - In January of this year I picked up in a field at Santa Cruz Island, California, a pellet presumably ejected by a Raven Corvus corax sinuatus). The pellet was three inches long with a diameter of one inch. It was examined by Mr. H.C. Bryant, of the California Fish and Game Commission, who writes: "Without pulling the pellet to pieces I discovered the following elements; parts of two Camel Crickets (Stenopelmatus sp.); parts of grasshoppers; 20 seeds of Poison Oak (Rhus diveratola); hulls of Wild Oats Avena fatua)."
Mr. H. Harris, of Kansas City, Mo., who has kindly looked through the literature for me for mention of Raven pellets, writes that the only reference he has been able to find is in Volume II of the fourth edition of Yarrell's 'British Birds,' edited by Alfred Newton, where, on page 260, it is stated; "A pair of Ravens known for many years to the Editor lived almost exclusively on moles, as he had ample facility for determining from repeated examination of the pellets of bone and hair which they, like so many other carnivorous birds cast up." Mr. W.L. MacAtee tells me that there are no Raven pellets in the collection of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It may be that when the birds feed on refuse or carrion that there is not enough binding material to hold the pellets together for any length of time. Will not some one who lives in Raven territory collect more data? -
RALPH HOFFMANN, Santa Barbara, California.
Robert Roy van de Hoek
Ravens, those incredible Ravens, both predator and vegetarian in its diet. A true omnivore but also a scavenger of dead animals. Ralph Hoffmann does a good job as a naturalist in his observations of nature on Santa Cruz Island. I have lived in Raven territory on the Carrizo Plain, and I lived also on Catalina in Raven territory, and now I live above Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains, in Raven territory, but I have never seen a Raven pellet. I will do more careful observations now. I also visit the Mohave Desert once a month, which is Raven territory and I will search there as Ralph Hoffmann has got me interested, as any good naturalist will do to another naturalist!