Corvus corax. The raven. Loquacious and throaty, they have much to say. They make more than thirty distinct calls; we know they can raise an alarm, comfort their fledglings or advertise their territory. I’m especially fond of their “glooks” and dripping water sounds. They embrace my spirit, but I wonder what they really mean? Ornithologists may argue about the raven’s ability to mimic other animals, but Lindsay has witnessed it. Once, while walking about, she heard a child crying and went searching for it only to discover it was a raven! The sound was so perfectly vocalized that it was difficult for her to accept it wasn’t a baby.
They are the most intelligent of birds and you don’t have to read a book to believe it; just listen to them talking to each other in the long twilight of a spring evening. It is winter now and they are mostly quiet, but I see them perched in the tops of spruce in the wood by our cabin. By spring there will be new broods of little ravens, all learning to speak. It is a pleasant prospect.
In Fairbanks this week I saw dozens snatching scraps off the snow by a dumpster. It saddened me to see them so, their dignity somehow stained by us. Why did I think that? why did it trouble me? why did I pity them? They belong in the land.