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The Bird Called Raven

Updated on November 7, 2012

My father passed away in early 2005, and I returned to Maine several times after the funeral to try to get the house in order, and make it as livable as possible since I would be returning there eventually to live. While working on the house one day, a quorum(or a flight, if you prefer), even the "flock", flew overhead toward the water. They had been creaking to one another. I looked up, and figured that it was as good a time as any to try my raven call. Two of them returned, and in midair, they interlocked beaks, did a 360, and flew off to meet the others. I don't know what I said, but evidently it was good enough to warrant a response.

I returned to Delaware after several days and eventually made it to Maine to live for three years. I had forgotten about the ravens, until of course, I was reminded by them. Friends would tell me that while I was away at work, the number of ravens in my front yard was staggering. A particularly close friend said that if anyone had wanted to break into the house that it would never happen, due to the ravens that kept watch while I was gone. Since I worked nights, I would notice early in the morning after a few hours of sleep, that there was a pile of mice in the driveway. This was not just on one day. Ravens were providing me food, as they did not see me hunting. I called to the ravens, and finally, I was visited. Try as I might, and I'm certain that I got the point across, the mouse delivery ceased. I showed a plate of my own food, and ate in front of this spokesbird. I was thoughtfully observed for a short time, and he left. The following day, I left some grapes and a few shiny trinkets in the driveway to show my appreciation for the work that they had done. The grapes and trinkets were gone, and in its place was an aluminum pie tin. I used the pie tin to provide assorted fruit like cut up apples, pieces of orange, and walnuts. Some walnuts were in the shell and others were not. I'm assuming that they figured out how to crack the walnuts to eat the nutmeat.

The Wolf Bird has been known to bond with humans quite frequently, and is generally those e without parents. However, if a wild raven pairs with a tame one, it can also happen in that case. The groups that I interacted with were most likely wandering juveniles, who are very gregarious. They are like teenagers and enjoy entertaining themselves. They will sky dance, ride updrafts, do barrel rolls, and the more mischievous will take laundry from the clothesline.

Parents usually have four or five young, all of which reach adult weight in roughly three to four weeks of hatching. Depending upon where these birds were reared, they will be fed what is handy. It could be shorebirds, deer, moose, or entrails, as an example, if raised in Maine, where I am from. Pieces of coyote or beaver found in or near traps can also be used for sustenance. Deer hair has been found quite commonly in pellets that they spit up, along with bones of small creatures, even insects.

Nests can fail due to food supply or foraging skills, but generally, it is the amount of food. Northern winters can be very hard, especially on animals. Typically, only half of these birds survive their first year for these reasons. Baby birds will be feathered in 32 days and will leave the nest in 48 days. The parents feed the young the best and juiciest meat.

They can breed at the age of 3, and it is common that some don't do so until the age of 7. Young, unpaired birds socialize, which tends to reduce aggression. It can also bring forth alliances, as groups of ravens will tend to look for food, and the more that search, the better are the chances to feed.

Studies have been done on these bright birds, and many amazing things have been learned, which I will discuss at a later time. If you are not acquainted with ravens, this could be a good time for you to learn more about them, as they can be very entertaining and very annoying. They are common in the northeast, along the Appalachian Trail, and the western part of the country.


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