Things About Ravens


Want to know about ravens? No? Then bugger off. Everyone seems to think that ravens are hideously ugly birds that eat hideously ugly things like carrion. Okay, the last thing is absolutely correct, but I always say that we'd live in a mighty putrid world if it wasn't for our raven friends who clean the place up for us. Why, we'd be knee-deep in corpses. And anyone who says ravens are ugly have obviously never had a very close look at one. They're actually magnificent birds with a very handsome gleam to their feathers.

There are many different species of raven. This one I'm not sure about, but I think it's an American raven (Corvus corax). They are very nice birds, but I don't think they're as pretty as Australian ravens.


Here's an Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) for you. Although they aren't quite as heavy as the American raven, they're still very handsome and have more of a bluish sheen to their feathers.

Ravens do eat things that aren't carrion. They also eat insects and small verterbrates and occasionally they even hunt another bird. Once in Canberra I saw a raven attacking a pidgeon. Unlike eagles and other birds of prey, ravens don't use their talons to hunt, they use their beaks. When catching a bird, they'll try to grab its wing up near the shoulder, thus subduing it. Then they'll pretty much just peck the poor thing to death.

Ravens haven't enjoyed a particularly good image with humans over the years through no fault of their own. It probably started with flocks of crows or ravens following armies about and cleaning up battlefields. On top of that, they're completely black and while I find that very attractive, other people have found it very evil. Although, why black should be an evil colour is beyond me. I mean, black is slimming - ask any girl - and how can that possibly be evil? And aside from that, I've never met anyone who doesn't look good in black.

Now, what's a raven page if it doesn't have Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem 'The Raven' somewhere on it? So here is the best poem ever written right here for your enjoyment.

The Raven

Oh, hey, here's something cool I discovered whilst taking "Australian Wildlife" in 2002. Turns out that ravens along with the rest of the songbird branch of the bird family tree evolved in Australia. They then radiated out into the rest of the world where they proceeded to become the world's most diverse and successful group of birds. That's always nice to know. Hooray for Australia, the birth place of passerines!


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