Bird of The Week: Common Raven

Spooky Spirit Bird: Common Raven

The intelligent and sociable Common Raven has been the subject of mythology, folklore, and literature through the ages. In Native American cultures, it is portrayed as a sly trickster, a spiritual figure, or even a god that helped create the earth.


Others have seen the raven as a bird of death and doom, perhaps most famously by Edgar Allan Poe in his poem, “The Raven.” Swedish folktales depict ravens as the ghosts of those who have been murdered, and old German stories describe ravens as damned souls.


Maybe people find ravens intimidating because they are so smart. Their brains are among the largest of any bird species, and they display excellent problem-solving ability. Biologist Bernd Heinrich, known for his studies of raven behavior, argues that the raven is one of only four known animals (along with bees, ants, and humans) with the ability to communicate about events not in the here-and-now.


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American Bird Conservancy
PO Box 249
The Plains, Virginia 20198
(540) 253-5780

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