Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father," as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines, and in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world. At the heart of this book are Heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too.
Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven follows an exotic journey—from New England to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic—offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature. Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling to read, at once lyrical and scientific.
In the morning, they were almost white-headed. Moisture from their warm, exhaled breaths instantly turned to ice crystals and condensed onto their fluffed-out head feathers. The birds started attacking a plastic milk container that had already received a thorough pounding the day before. Their only visible concession to the cold were their belly-feathers, fluffed out so that they reached down to their toes when they stopped to perch. They often played “catch-the-stick,” but the most popular
16 primary birds 23 lemmings plus birds 80 11 grain and other plant remains 12 small bones 2 hare remains 3 rodents 28 Under a cliff nest Mt. Denali, June 1992 Under winter communal roost on my hill, Maine, Jan. 1993 1 egg shells 3 birds 3 rodents 9 caribou fur 1 hare fur 6 unidentified mammals 10 deer hair 5 berries 44 pebbles, cattle hair, vegetable 59 At a big feeding spot by my calf carcasses Weld, Maine, 1995 Under sleeping tree Weld, Maine, August 1995 1 flying
makes birds ill. The ravens, not to be outsmarted, soon learned to distinguish between treated quail eggs and untreated tern eggs, and continued to eat tern eggs. Not to be outsmarted again, the researchers refined their tactics. They placed the methocarp-treated quail eggs at the tern colony several weeks before the terns nested. It worked—the territorial ravens soon learned that “all” the eggs at that site made them ill. When the terns finally laid their eggs, they had a brief respite. The
first year would be much better than the odds they would face in the wild; I presumed all of my birds would live, with my care and protection. Normally, the young begin to wander away from their home area in late summer and fall. That’s when the heavy mortality begins. Since I wanted to keep Goliath and his cohorts, I needed to confine them in an aviary. When the proper time came, I hoped they would nest inside and become residents there. Then I would let them fly free because I hoped they would
young. There are several ways to get insights into how ravens might locate and settle in a home area and whether they use it exclusively. One is to try to follow individual birds, the other is to see the result, determining where the birds end up. We have little information available on the first question, and very little on the second. Thomas Grünkorn, who was doing an extensive marking study of ravens in northern Germany, was trying to get answers by using both approaches. I had never met