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Ravencam: watch nesting ravens live

A raven at Yellowstone National Park
A raven at Yellowstone National Park
Brad Sylvester

Wellesley College has launched its new Ravencam, a live video feed showing the active nest of a pair of ravens living on the Wellesley campus. The birds have built their nest on the Science Center building because it resembles the cliffs that the birds prefer for nesting in the wild.

Although no extra lighting has been added for the camera, the birds built the nest in a location that does receive light from the building at night so that it is visible on the camera 24 hours per day.

Wellesley College's Frost Professor of Environmental Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences Nicholas Rodenhouse says "Ravens are highly social, creative, and love to have fun." Although ravens (Corvus corax) are typically found in remote forests or mountains, in recent years they are becoming more common in urban settings since the 1970's says Rodenhouse.

The female of the pair has laid two eggs in the nest. The eggs are expected to hatch in mid-April.

The camera is equipped with a microphone to pick up the sounds the birds may make. In addition to their own croaking calls, ravens sometimes mimic the calls of other birds, and can even be trained to say human words, as readers of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven may recall.

The raven nest shown on the cam is built primarily of sticks, some of quite large size. It almost resembles a miniature eagle nest. It must be built securely as ravens are quite large, exceeding two feet in length.

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