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Posts Tagged ‘ravens’

White ravens are rare – perhaps because the color variance makes them more prone to disease and predators. But their white feathers also seem to add credence to the myth that credits Raven with fetching fire from the sun and bringing it back to earth after the gods had taken fire away. In helping earth’s inhabitants, Raven sacrificed his beautiful plumage and lovely voice.

While in Alaska and western Canada, I saw many ravens. The intelligence in the birds’ eyes and their clever behavior suggested far more awareness than humans like to give animals credit for. I even saw one raven prying open a sunroof in order to get to a bag of groceries. And though I didn’t see if he or she was successful, it seem quite likely that the bird managed to get inside the car and pillage the groceries (including a very obvious loaf of bread) before making an escape out the sunroof.

Alas, I have yet to see a white raven, yet I love the myth associated with the creature.

Myths, of all sorts, are one of my passions. I think they add to our understanding of the people of the past, ourselves, and our species. And, dear reader, the word myth does not mean an untruth – rather a system of belief which may or may not be one you believe.

For your reading and viewing pleasure, here’s a little article on white ravens.

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“If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.” – Charles Lindbergh

I agree with Lindbergh. Yes, airplanes make long distance traveling easier, but for me, birds make my life richer. And today, the loud and comical antics of the crows made me smile. Then, I read this article about crows which is somewhat disturbing: 6 Terrifying Ways Crows are Way Smarter than You Think.

IMG_2395 The first way they list (actually #6 since they’re listing in reverse order): “The recognize your face.” This is true. When I lug the bread crumbs or seed or suet out to the birds, the watch-crow starts cawing, bobbing his/her head, and ruffling its feathers. Sure enough, within minutes, the rest of the crow family (or “murder” as a group of crows is called), arrive to feast upon whatever I’ve scattered about.

Which brings me to #5, “They conspire with one another.” True! If the watch-crow isn’t enough proof, the crows have shown excellent skill in chasing away squirrels.

#4 is “Memory.” As if facial recognition wasn’t spooky enough, it seems word gets around in the blackbird (I’m changing it from just crows here). Why? Word has gotten out in the red-winged blackbird, starling, crow, and bird communities that I feed birds. Every year, a migrating flock of hundreds (if not thousands) of blackbirds stops at my feeder for a few days each spring and fall before moving on to wherever it is they’re headed.

I witnessed #3 “Tools and problem-solving,” when I was in Anchorage, Alaska. A raven (larger cousin of a crow) was busily prying open a sun roof to get to someone’s groceries. He/she was using not only beak and feet, but also a stick. Clever bird!

#2, “Planning,” includes saving food for lean times and other thoughtful techniques. I’ve not witnessed that behavior (to my knowledge, but crows are tricky), but the whole watch-crow business seems like planning to me.

The #1 way listed in the article was “Adaptive behavior.” Well, knowing to check on sun roofs on cars seems rather adaptive to me, but the best example from my own life occurred years ago when we had a sliding glass door through which I used to exit to feed the birds. If the feeders were empty and I didn’t fill them promptly, a designated crow would come to the door and “knock.” The bird would fly to the porch railing or a nearby tree to caw his/her empty feeder alert. When I opened the door, the rest of the murder would alight in the trees and wait for their food to be served.

My kids say it looks like a scene from “The Birds” sometimes at my house. And it’s not just the crows —  blackbirds, starlings, chickadees, cardinals, jays, morning doves, etc. ALL seem to know my face, and fly close when I bring out the chow.

 

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794 Here at Wood’s Edge, the night is dark and rainy – a most fitting evening for ghosts and spirits to wander. “It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but having fallen, it was blood.” — Edgar Allan Poe [Silence – A Fable]

There was a scrap of sun this afternoon, and stars winked in the sky earlier in the evening, but it seems the moon and stars have vanished on this All Hallow’s Eve. “And they put out the star-light/ With the breath from their pale faces.” — E. A. Poe [Fairy-Land]

This past weekend, I participated in HallowRead, a delightfully ghoulish celebration of dark fantasy, horror, and paranormal romance writing. Each of the Ellicott City locations for writers’ panels were supposedly haunted – and talk of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other paranormal creatures (contemporary or ancient) certainly added to the spooky vibe. “Horror and fatality have been stalking abroad in all ages. Why then give a date to the story I have to tell?” — E. A. Poe [Metzengerstein]

Plus, I’ve been participating since October 23rd in a Halloween blog tour with other members of Broad Universe – a wonderful organization which supports women who write speculative poetry and prose. “And then, hour after hour would I linger by her side, and dwell upon the music of her voice – until, at length, its melody was tainted with terror…” — E. A. Poe [Morella]

So I encourage you to read all the posts (some here on my blog) and especially to check out my guest blogs on the other sites. See what day dreams (or nightmares) I write about – for “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” — E.A. Poe [Eleonora]

Check out: Ogerhunches and Other Goblins at TJ Wooldridge’s A Novel Friend, Hedge Witches at Elizabeth Black’s blog, Were-Beasties at LC Hu’s blog, and Ravens at Justine Graykin’s blog.

IMG_2395 And as the witching hour draws closer, the rain raps on my window pane like a lost soul, and I wonder where the murder of crows which visits my yard daily are roosting tonight – I wish a Happy Halloween to all, and to all a haunted night!

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I’m a great fan of ravens – whether the Baltimore football team or the darkly feathered bird of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem. I’ve visited Poe’s grave and attended football games. One of my poems about both the Ravens football team and Edgar Allen Poe was published in The Baltimore Review and released as part of a poetry CD. Another one of my poems, Raven, is competing until midnight Jan 26th on the Preditors & Editors Poll.

I challenge Baltimore Raven fans and Poe fans to vote for my poem, “Raven,” until Jan. 26th midnight at: http://www.critters.org/predpoll/poem.shtml Let’s put the word RAVEN at the top of the poll!

And for those who’d like to read Raven, along with my nominated Short Story-Science Fiction, Weathermaker (pub. in Dragon’s Lure); NonFiction article, Tussie-Mussies (pub. in Faerie Magazine); and view my nominated artwork, Wizard (pub. in Aoife’s Kiss), – check out a temporary page on my website: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com/preditors__editors_nominated_work

 If you’re so inclined, you can also vote for me, Vonnie Winslow Crist, as author, poet, and artist in the Preditors & Editors Poll. Here’s the link for Artwork to vote for Wizard – you can easily get to the other categories from here: http://www.critters.org/predpoll/artwork.shtml

So thanks to all you who decide to vote. Hooray for Edgar Allen Poe, whose birthday is later this month. And Good Luck, Ravens in tomorrow’s game!

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Last night’s win was a great beginning to the football season for Ray Lewis and his team mates. And shouts of “Ravens Rule” could be heard around my neighborhood.

As for me, I was born & raised in Maryland. First a Baltimore Colts fan, I’m now a Baltimore Ravens fan. It’s easy: I love purple & black. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite writers. (I’ve even visited his grave on Halloween!) A bird-lover, I feed the black birds, crows & ravens who visit my yard. And most of my family members are Ravens watchers and fans, too.

 Autumn has also started off well for ravens lovers of the reader type. Emg-Zine, an online fantasy & science fiction magazine has made September 2010 – Ravens Month. You can find raven-themed art, stories, and poems on their site. Now before you football folks go crazy – these pieces have to do with the black-feathered bird, not the lads in the purple jerseys.

Though I have written a raven poem about Edgar Allen Poe and the football team, my poem published in the September 2010 Emg-Zine issue is about the bird and a Baltimore autumn. I invite you to enjoy it & the rest of the issue for free: http://tinyurl.com/vonnie-raven  And I invite you to cheer on Baltimore’s hometown team this fall as they fight to make the play-offs.

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