- The dark bird of evil 5. The guardians of the country
- A prominent literary character 6. Smart and cunning
- Fun lovers 7. Born to be free
- Alike but different 8. Favourite diet
A. For intelligence, ravens rate up with chimpanzees and dolphins. These birds have the largest brain of any bird species. Ravens can push rocks on people to keep them from climbing to their nests and play dead to scare other ravens away from a delicious meal. If a raven knows another raven is watching, it hides its food. It pretends to put the food in one place but hides it in another.
B. It’s amazing to watch ravens sliding on snow-covered roofs. For entertainment, they also roll down snowy hills. Ravens often play keep-away with other animals like wolves, foxes and dogs. They even make toys—a rare animal behaviour—from sticks, pine cones, golf balls, or rocks to play with each other or by themselves. When they feel bored, they mock other creatures and find it very amusing.
C. According to surveys, the ravens are one of the main reasons why tourists come to see the Tower of London. Nobody knows when the ravens first appeared there but there is a belief that at least six ravens must always remain on the territory of the Tower. Otherwise, the British Monarchy may fall. To prevent the birds from flying away their wings are clipped every three weeks.
D. In the past, in some cultures, people were truly afraid of these dark birds. In Germany, ravens were considered to be the incarnation of criminals’ souls or sometimes Satan himself. In Sweden, ravens were thought to be the souls of murdered people. And in Denmark, people believed that it was dangerous to look at ravens because you could turn into a raven yourself.
E. Sometimes people find injured ravens and take them home, but keeping a raven as a pet is really difficult. These birds require a lot of care, a lot of freedom, and a lot of time. Ravens are wild creatures, and are not pets in the same way as cats and dogs are. If the bird is strong and healthy, it is unfair and cruel to keep it in captivity. In some countries it’s even illegal. So if you really love and admire these birds, enjoy them from a distance!
F. Crows and ravens are often confused with each other because they are both black birds. Even people who are well aware of the differences between the two birds can get confused. You can tell them apart by their voice and differences in their behaviour. Ravens are larger than crows, with thicker beaks, and longer tails. Ravens have a deeper voice than crows.
G. Many poets and writers wrote about ravens in their works. Shakespeare refers to the raven more often than to any other bird. The raven Grip plays an important part in Charles Dickens’ book Barnaby Rudge. Edgar Allan Poe presents the raven as a mystical messenger in his poem The Raven. The wise and sensible raven is also a popular figure in fairy tales.