Autodidact: self-taught

Feb
24
2013

Corvids: Unkindnesses & Murders

by V. L. Craven

Corvidae  (crows, ravens, jackdaws, rooks, among others) are some of the most intelligent animals–they use tools, can solve problems with minimal trial-and-error and share information amongst their flock.

And, apparently, they enjoy playing in the snow:

One of my favourite facts is that a flock of crows is called a murder and a flock of ravens are an unkindness. And this is why grackles should be included in the family, because a flock of those are called a plague.

And they look like this:

photograph by Bill Hubick

More incredible photography of grackles by Bill Hubick.

But back to the official corvids…

Information & Trivia on Ravens & Crows

First, if you’re confused about the different types of corvids, here is a graphic to help distinguish between them:

Differences Between Types of Corvids

Here is a huge version, which you need to see to appreciate the detail and effort put into this work of art.

This page has loads of quotes from the engaging and informative  In the Company of Crows and Ravens  by John M. Marzluff, Mr. Tony Angell and Professor Paul R. Ehrlich.

24Books has excellent information about the mythology around ravens.

But, if you would like more, Wikipedia to the rescue!

When the Scandinavians were invading the Anglo-Saxons, they’d fly something similar to this:

Which the Christian Anglo-Saxons thought must be imbued with the evil power of pagan idols. That’s right. Booga booga.

Here’s a little info on Charles Dickens’ pet raven, Grip , which inspired Poe’s famous poem. While on this page , you’ll find even more information (start halfway down the page, two paragraphs above this photo of the taxidermied Grip):

Speaking of Poe’s poem, the Baltimore Ravens are the only sports team to be named after a literary creation. They won some sort of sporting competition recently, I think. They have a pretty fantastic logo.

Baltimore Ravens Logo Wallpaper

And, of course, there are the famous ravens at the Tower of London .

Welcome to our crib.

Whilst doing research for this post, I learned that April 27th is International Crow and Raven Appreciation Day (ICRAD, which sounds like something a corvid would say). Here is a photo set from Facebook celebrating the day (they have a set of  videos , as well.)

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an entire page of audio and video of  ravens and crows . The reason the ‘crow’ link includes jays and magpies is because the entire corvidae family are called crows. Ravens are a type of crow, as are jays and magpies, etc.

And if you’ve ever wondered what crows get up to during the day, you can follow streetcrow on Twitter and find out.

Gifts for Fans of Crows & Ravens

Upon a Midnight Dreary has a list of great Raven and Crow gifts and decorations .

It was also from Dahlia Jane that I learned about this amazing mask :

I’d wear it everywhere, all the time.

It’s leather and the bottom of the beak snaps off, making it two masks, really. It sold last month, but perhaps if you ask nicely he’ll make another.

And something I would love (and would actually wear all the time) is this t-shirt of Huginn and Muninn (Odin’s ravens) from November Fire :

More gift ideas here .

Images of Crows & Ravens

Raven wing in flight

Common Raven and Griffin Vulture by Adam Manka

This common raven looks like it’s about to refuel the griffin vulture (photo by Adam Manka)

 

Raven by Bulliver on flickr

Raven by Bulliver on flickr

 

Corvids be struttin

If I was a badass corvid, I’d be struttin’, too

Serinadruid has quite a few raven-themed photos

Amusing images of crows and ravens are here .

And some Raven/Crow themed wallpapers:

Black Raven wallpaper

Raven with exposed ribs Wallpaper

Ravens and Typewriter Life Magazine Wallpaper

Finally, no post about corvids would be complete without a picture of my tattoo, which is a tribute to both Tim Burton (not his illustration, but could be) and Edgar Allan Poe:

I could have taken a healed photo, but I think the blood works with this one.

A friend of mine described it as: ‘If Severus Snape were an animagus that’s what he’d look like.’ So… it was even more perfect than I’d originally intended.

[If an image in this post is uncredited and you know the author’s name, please leave a comment.]

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