Raven - KrughoffRavens are the largest perching birds in North America living on average for 13 years. Unlike crows which migrate, ravens are year-round residents in Saskatchewan. They were once considered a pest and almost exterminated. Photo by Sharie Krughoff.
The raven (Corvus, corax) is one of my favourite birds. They’re one of forty members of the crow family, which includes magpies and blue jays. The lives of ravens reflect far more than hardwired instinct.
Ravens have been studied extensively worldwide under carefully controlled protocols. The raven has a brain to body ratio matching dolphins and it nearly equals that of man. Their large brains also contain an exceptional number of brain cells. Neurologists have determined birds have a highly developed area of the forebrain called the hyperstriatum. Ravens are at the top of the list regarding the size of this area of their brains.
Ravens are able to recruit wolves, coyotes and other birds into their highly successful techniques of survival. They also engage in play. Aerial acrobatics, king of the hill and sledding down a snowy slope on a piece of bark are just a few examples. I witnessed ravens sledding on their backs in 2004, while living in the Craven Valley. I was relieved when reading that others have seen them sledding as well!
The vocabulary of ravens is daunting. Research starts to break down at over eighty different calls. From the perspective of worldwide research, local dialects exist and possibly even different languages. New sounds are invented as needed. Like so many things in our miraculous world, new discoveries reveal how little we actually understand.
Regrettably, the David Krughoff Gallery in Mortlach, SK, will be closed for the 2012 season due to health issues. We look forward to seeing David and Sharie in the gallery again soon.