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Ravens and Jackdaws at Sutton Bank - North Yorkshire

Sat 6th Apr, 2024

The sound of calling Western Jackdaws is my earliest bird sound memory. On childhood holidays in Ambleside, Cumbria I would lean out of the window and follow the flocks over the slate roof tops and distant fells. 


I was enchanted by their agility and rising chatter; it was a happy sound between friends.


I was a teenager before I heard my first grunting Northern Raven. Their guttural calls were always exciting to my ear, full of power and so wildly different to the high rising sound of Jackdaws. 


On the 4th April above the ‘best’ view in England I had the rare treat of hearing both sounds together. A large flock of Jackdaws exploded from the cliffs to meet two Ravens.


The Jackdaws did their best to drive away the intruders but one Raven stuck around to test the resolve of the Jackdaws.


It really looked like it was enjoying the challenge of trying to land amongst the Jackdaw colony. Maybe it was looking for a new nesting site or maybe it really was ‘playing’ with the Jackdaws. 


The tumbling Raven surrounded by chattering Jackdaws was a fabulous sight. Eventually both Ravens moved on and the circus show was over.

Sutton Bank on the western escarpment of the North York Moors National Park is well worth a visit. Park by the visitor centre and walk a short distance through heathland and birch woodland to the Cleveland Way trail and the spectacular views looking west towards the Yorkshire Dales.

In the past ten years sightings of Ravens have also increased on the eastern side of North Yorkshire. They have even nested again on the coast at Ravenscar. 

To read more about the intelligence of Ravens and other members of the crow family CLICK HERE

Richard Baines

© Yorkshire Coast Nature