Raven (Common Raven)
Distribution Britain 1,131 (-9.2%) Ireland 686 (+53.8%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 7,000 + Ireland 3,500
European status: 220,000 (1% in Britain and Ireland =6)
British population trend: declining overall (+37% BBS)
How likely are you to record it? 348 squares (7.7%) Ranked 69 
The Raven used to be a bird found throughout Britain but was lost from much of lowland England by the end of the 19th century for instance breeding in Surrey to about 1850. In Ireland it had been lost from several inland counties but was still found round the coasts and in most hilly areas. As the largest corvid and thought to be the scourge of farm animals and game alike it was high on the list of birds to be destroyed. There was an increase probably starting with the lack of gamekeeping activity during the Second World War in England and rather earlier in Ireland. In Scotland the increase was short lived and a decline set in about 20 years later associated with pesticides, probably sheep dips in carrion, and differences in land use. Losses between the two Breeding Atlases are concentrated in eastern Scotland all the way from the Borders to Caithness. In Ireland the spread inland continued in many areas and in Wales, where the birds foraged over open sheep grazing, they also increased markedly in numbers. There may be as many as 1,500 pairs breeding there. The five-year BBS index (1994-98) increased by 37%. Severe losses in Scotland more than counteract increases elsewhere particularly Wales and Ireland.
Roberts, J.L. & Jones, M.S. 1999 Welsh Birds: 2, 121-130.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead