Often when I sit at my workspace I look out the window and see several big black ravens (each about 24-25” long) swooping between the tall pine trees. I feel like I’m in the middle of a sci-fi movie by Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock! Sometimes the Ravens huddle in trees or on the ground. Other times they will be alone or with their mate. Today there were 15 of them (an unkindness of Ravens) foraging at the corner where our street intersects another.
Evenings bring the ‘raven patrol’ where they fly and land in their favorite trees. Quite a site!
Once in a while, one will come to the feeder and grab a peanut!
They communicate with each other using an amazing variety of calls that range from a low gurgling croak to harsh grating sounds and shrill alarm calls that can be heard a mile away.
The Common Raven has a very thick bill, shaggy throat and a wedge-shaped tail. This member of the crow family is incredibly aerobatic, tumbling and rolling, in mid air. Many scientific studies have shown the Raven to be one of the most intelligent birds and it is said it can be trained to talk. A famous study was done at Oxford University in 2002 that showed Ravens to be tool makers!
One of Aesop’s fables tells of a thirsty crow that dropped pebbles into a pitcher, raising the water level until it was high enough for him to drink and quench his thirst.
Of course, various cultures have bestowed the Raven with different qualities. In our western literature they symbolize darkness, depression and death. Yes, I love Edgar Allan Poe’s poem of ‘The Raven’ but it is depressing! In medieval times, they meant virility. And in the American Indian culture the Raven is a ‘trickster’ and the creator of man. The Raven placed the Sun in the sky. Black is a color representing magical power and the Raven is the guardian of ceremonial magic and healing circles.
This site is full of interesting facts and lore of the Raven and you might be interested in learning more. I was! http://www.druidry.org/obod/lore/animal/raven.html
I’m deciding how to depict an ‘unkindness of Ravens’ on a piece of jewelry. Sketches, I’m doing lots of sketching to get it right!