Corvid Corner

Discussion of any other birds and animals, anywhere.
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corvideryck
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Corvid Corner

Post by corvideryck » December 13th, 2008, 7:40 pm

Among researchers studying Corvids, Lawrence Kilham and Bernd Heinrich are perhaps the best known. Both deem the Raven Corvus corax to be the most intelligent of animals excelling even the Chimpanzee in problem solving ability and speed of learning. The claim is that the raven is the Einstein of the avian world.

There is a strange coincidence here. Back in 1905 when Albert Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity King Raven flew from roost to roost declaring that Einstein was the Raven of the Mammalian world. All the other ravens looked up, nodded agreement, and then went on eating.

Lawrence Kilham relates that in 1933 he was in northern Greenland intent on collecting bird and mammal specimens for the Museum of Comparative Zoology. He writes that he doesn't like to shoot things but at that time there was no talk of ecology or conservation. On the beach were some 200 ravens,tame as chickens, swarming on the shingle where fish were being cleaned. He could not shoot one there with so many people around, and going further inland he found there were no birds to be seen. However one morning he did see one bird circling overhead and raising his 12 bore shotgun took a shot at it. One small black feather drifted down while the raven continued circling above seemingly unconcerned. As he was reloading the raven suddenly swooped low over him depositing a large purplish splotch on the front of his cap (the bird had been eating crowberries) he took the cap off and gazed at it in astonishment. He did not think the event either fortuitous or accidental. That experience led him to believe that ravens, in addition to being sharp mentally, also had a sense of humour.

Try this website for some examples

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes ... lack/1507/

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Post by corvideryck » January 17th, 2009, 6:45 pm

Reading about the lecture given recently concerning animals in myth and legend it occurred to me that we might have our own section on the same topic. This particular one has a corvid bias (but we all have our own totems) although there are references to other animals.



In Europe, Western Europe that is, both crows and ravens are usually considered to be birds of ill omen. That is unless you favour the Nordic pantheon in which case you will know that Wotan/Odin had two ravens, Huginn(Thought) and Muninn (Memory) who flew around the world by day returning to Wotan in Valhalla at night to relate what they had seen and heard. Wotan also had two wolf companions, Geri and Freki, Wolves and ravens have a symbiotic relationship in the wild and the raven is known as the 'wolfbird' in those parts of the world where these two animals associate.



There is a supposition that Edgar Allen Poe appeared to denigrate the raven in his poem "Nevermore" but some commentators are now questioning that interpretation by suggesting that the bird is merely administering justice to a madman. To judge from his monotonously dreary output no one was better qualified than Poe to write on the apperceptions of the clinically insane. In the UK the raven was almost driven to extinction in the east of the country but is now protected and numbers are increasing. It was the same with the Red Kite. Both eat dead animals. Therefore they must be pariahs. Odd thing is that most humans here scavenge meat from the Supermarkets. Meat that has been dead for weeks in some cases. No-I'm really not suggesting anything. Who -me? Anyway we have the National Health Service dealing with that.



Magpies have a reputation as mischief makers and Jackdaws are well known thieves. So only in the Americas and parts of Asia are Ravens and Crows revered as supernatural allies or creators. Tribal Shamans often assume either crow or raven identities or consult with spirits in the guise of corvids. You will find some references in the links given below. Some of these links could be better maintained and I apologise for those that have failed. I hope you find something of interest.



http://web.telia.com/~u85903393/corvus_english.html



http://www.eldrbarry.net/rabb/rvn/rvn.htm



http://www.forteantimes.com/features/ar ... raven.html



http://www.druidry.org/obod/lore/animal/raven.html



http://www.acetouch.plus.com/Raven/raven.htm


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Post by Liis » February 7th, 2009, 7:02 pm

Corvideryck - and anyone else who knows the corvids -
was Mutikluti's marvellous, almost Japanese screenshot, with text, here, with four marching ravens before battle a chance thing or does it tell about raven behaviour rituals, and if so, what?

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Post by verlit » February 7th, 2009, 7:11 pm

Great topic! I love corvidae and I think they are among the most interesting bird groups (and very intelligent one, too) and we still don´t know enough about their complex behaviour.
Looking forward to a lot of interesting discussion here! :wave:

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Post by Jo UK » February 7th, 2009, 8:56 pm

Liis and verlit, I was so sorry to have missed that action that Mutikluti reported. I will make sure that Corvidderyck attends to our interst (he is napping right now!) Maybe I can rouse Mutikluti too, but she should be off duty now!

Meanwhile, to pass the time, here is Raven Haven, which I should have posted here instead of somewhere else.

http://www.ravenhaven.co.uk/index.php

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Post by Kuremari » February 7th, 2009, 10:18 pm

hi corvideryck, this is most interesting, what you told us.
here in Estonia the magpies have the reputation of thieves :D , don`t know about jackdaws, but ravens are clever for sure!
BTW what birds live in London Tower? ravens?
sorry i have learned it , but just now forgotten, they can not leave the castle to keep Britain safe...
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Post by verlit » February 7th, 2009, 11:00 pm

Kuremari wrote:hi corvideryck, this is most interesting, what you told us.
here in Estonia the magpies have the reputation of thieves :D , don`t know about jackdaws, but ravens are clever for sure!
BTW what birds live in London Tower? ravens?
sorry i have learned it , but just now forgotten, they can not leave the castle to keep Britain safe...
Yes, it is ravens and they are very well take care of :D They live up to 40 years of age, while in the wild their usual lifespan is about 10 -15 years

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Post by verlit » February 7th, 2009, 11:09 pm

By the way I always loved old English terms for groups of birds of corvidae family. They are a bit unflattering but at the same time certainly more poetic and weird then simple "herd" :D

a murder of crows
a parliament of rooks
an unkindness of ravens

Although I admit I find it difficult to use them in a daily conversation: "Oh, darling, I have seen big unkindness of ravens today, there might have been 50 birds." Hm...probably not :headroll:

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Post by Kuremari » February 7th, 2009, 11:16 pm

haa, that`s really funny, never heard these expressions,
or most obviously forgotten about them!
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Post by Jo UK » February 7th, 2009, 11:55 pm

verlit wrote:By the way I always loved old English terms for groups of birds of corvidae family. They are a bit unflattering but at the same time certainly more poetic and weird then simple "herd" :D

a murder of crows
a parliament of rooks
an unkindness of ravens

Although I admit I find it difficult to use them in a daily conversation: "Oh, darling, I have seen big unkindness of ravens today, there might have been 50 birds." Hm...probably not :headroll:
Here are many more collective nouns for birds!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _for_birds

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Post by Jo UK » February 8th, 2009, 12:31 am

Corvideryck is going to search the literature for evidence of rituals by ravens. Dogs and corvids can read human beings better than all other animals including apes.

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Post by Kuremari » February 8th, 2009, 5:57 pm

Hm,would it be appropriate to post here some raven pictures taken from pig-cam?
behaving ravens :rolleyes: on 31 of December 2008
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Post by Jo UK » February 8th, 2009, 6:39 pm

Yes, Excellent idea. Thanks.

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Post by corvideryck » March 8th, 2009, 12:04 pm

Found this. Thought it might interest someone. About Ravens of course. Must be my tribal totem. But look - I've been following this group of young thugs through the media. It appeared on 'Science Daily' today. Greetings to all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 230705.htm

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Post by yarko » March 9th, 2009, 9:41 pm

Well, i thouhgt that if pig-cam' ravens are here (thanks Kuremari!)
i may post a pic' of my 'personal ravens':) also - it's taken three days ago.
One raven hatched in the nest; i saw the other one too, flying around and making a noise.
They 'know' me already, i walk there almost every day with my dog. :whistling:
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Post by Jo UK » March 9th, 2009, 9:57 pm

Wonderful, Yarko. Now we have our own young raven? Can we send it gifts!?

Thanks for watching it and taking a pic.
Any news will always be welcome.

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Post by Liis » March 9th, 2009, 11:33 pm

corvideryck wrote:Found this. Thought it might interest someone. About Ravens of course. Must be my tribal totem. But look - I've been following this group of young thugs through the media. It appeared on 'Science Daily' today. Greetings to all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 230705.htm
Very interesting: bird behaviour, project & project promotion, all of it. But ... have they had enough of those adolescent delinquent groups (& potential d:o) around to test & verify model?

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Post by corvideryck » March 11th, 2009, 1:35 pm

First let me apologise to all who have asked questions that I have failed to answer. This is a problem for an octogenarian painter who also suffers from both broadband and PC problems. What can I say? Try to stagger valiantly on perhaps.

I'm strictly an amateur insofar as the Aves are concerned. I have more expertise in the field of their ancestry. The Maniraptors in particular and predatory dinosaurs in general. Latching on to Corvidae, for me, the most interesting birds because of their problem solving abilities, and interactions with humans, represents a completely fresh study. So far I've read most of the available published material. This question of juvenile 'gang'behaviour in the Welsh Roost is reported by Bernd Heinrich;Lawrence Kilham; Candace Savage, and John Mazluff. However most, if not all of these studies were carried out in North America on the American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos and the Common Raven Corvus corax From other sources I've gleaned numerous reports on intelligent and innovative behaviour among corvids so perhaps we may have to take Rupert Sheldrake theories of morphic resonance more seriously. (Feel free to take this as a joke if you like-but "include me out")

I used to paint big cats. Now, if someone would kindly prop me up, my inclination would be to paint Ravens. It will take the full spectrum of colours to render their feathers with anything like accuracy. I was forbidden black as a student. Just as well really. Prevents my doing Corvids an injustice.

May their tribe increase.

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Post by Liis » March 12th, 2009, 11:04 am

corvideryck wrote: ... This question of juvenile 'gang'behaviour in the Welsh Roost is reported by Bernd Heinrich;Lawrence Kilham; Candace Savage, and John Mazluff. However most, if not all of these studies were carried out in North America on the American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos and the Common Raven Corvus corax ..... so perhaps we may have to take Rupert Sheldrake theories of morphic resonance more seriously. (Feel free to take this as a joke if you like-but "include me out")
Hmmm... Morphic resonance? Between species, too? ... so the raven thug gangs might mirror local/national human gang behaviour, maybe? - Sorry, will go and read up seriously when the translations ration is done. Although knew a scientist once who said, why destroy a good discussion with looking up facts.

Thanks for always interesting posts, Corvideryck!

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