After the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, we had to give special attention to this extraordinary bird. The raven is smart and adaptable as well as being a great prankster.
The raven is considered the most intelligent of all birds rivaling great apes in its ability to use logic and follow complex steps. According to Cornell University, scientists keep challenging ravens with more complicated problems, and ravens keep solving them.
Ravens also use gestures, which are considered a sign of intelligence. A European study featured in the Anchorage Daily News found that ravens showed objects to other ravens, mostly the opposite sex, in order to stimulate interaction.
Perhaps those problem solving skills and communication skills evolved during all those years of scavenging. Consider the challenge of trying to get a few bites while trying not to get eaten by predators, like wolves. The epitome of a love-hate relationship, ravens and wolves will work together at times as ravens have been known to summon their allied wolf partners with “calls” when they need them for scavenging – though the threat of being the wolves’ next meal themselves is always there.
Ravens are also adept at stealing food from predators, and they’re smart enough to know when an easy meal might be coming. That’s why they follow hunters and fishermen. While ravens love to enjoy the fruit of the hunter or predator’s labor, they are also very adaptable and don’t depend on any one food source.
In addition to scavenging, ravens eat berries, fruits, insects and small animals. In fact, ravens have such great abilities to adapt and eat a wide variety of food that they live much longer than most birds in the wild. The average life expectancy for a raven in the wild is 20 years. They can live up to 70 years in captivity.
Ravens are also stealthy flyers. Unlike crows that rely on active flight to stay airborne, ravens are able to soar and dip high above the trees. They also perform aerial stunts similar to those executed by the birds of prey.
Often used in literature and movies as a portend of something dark and ominous, these birds are actually quite playful. Ravens enjoy playing pranks and have even been known to pull the tails of wolves and then fly away in a quick escape at the last minute. Humans are also on their list for pranking. Ravens have been witnessed sitting on the roof of a supermarket and pushing snow on to the customers below.
You may also have heard of the captive group of Common Ravens that live at the Tower of London. According to Wikipedia, tradition requires that there always be seven of them, six required and one in reserve, and superstitiously holds that “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.”
The protective, smart, adaptable, and mischievous raven makes it the Cole’s February Bird of the Month. Please pass this along to your friends who may not know how special the raven really is.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products is a family-owned company that distributes wild bird feed and suet products. The company is known for offering the highest quality products on the market. Cole’s also specializes in chili infused seed products designed to keep your feeder a birds only “hot” spot. Cole’s started in the garage of mom and pop entrepreneurs Richard and Nancy Cole back in the early 1980’s. Today it distributes to retailers nationwide. Cole’s is located in the metro Atlanta area. For more information, visit www.colesbird1.wpengine.com