Common raven (Corvus corax) populations in the deserts of Southern California are both increasing and causing conflicts with conservation of other wildlife. Ravens take advantage of food resources that are more abundant around people than in natural desert environments. They also readily use human-made structures such as billboards and power poles for nesting. Because of these anthropogenic resources, raven populations have increased in these desert environments. They are also predators of rare and declining wildlife, including the federally threatened population of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Mojave Desert.
Our research on common ravens is focused on understanding movements of birds from human-dominated environments to determine the extent to which they use natural desert areas where desert tortoise may occur. For this project, we are capturing ravens and attaching GPS-GSM telemetry units to track their movements. This will ultimately provide data that will allow wildlife managers to focus their conservation efforts and funds to best conserve desert tortoise through management of raven predation.