As I sat with protected species ecologist, Garry Smith, on the car park of Barkers Dam within the park, our presence was graced by a Raven. The bird sat less than 5 meters from us without a care in the World.
Being from the UK this was a grand experience, as Ravens are few and far between. Without, mentioning the fact they are seriously difficult to get close to.
But what reason would a scavenging corvid have to be in the driest desert in North America, and the hot waterless landscape of the Mojave Desert?
As we researched further, we found that the number of ravens has exploded in recent years. Partly due to their ability to thrive in developed areas.
As humans moved into the desert for recreation and hiking they introduced new sources of food and water for ravens. Such as illegal landfills, unsecured dumpsters and trash bins, roadkill, man-made ponds and irrigation systems.
Booming desert communities offered the ravens plenty of places to nest. Billboards, telephone poles, bridges and buildings, and of course littering to name a few.
With more people – came more ravens.