Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich

I’ve just started reading Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds by Bernd Heinrich. As I mentioned in my entry about borrowing this book, Mind of the Raven was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year in the year it was published (1999).

I didn’t know much about ravens — really all I knew was Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven — so I was surprise to read in the Introduction that “ravens have throughout history commonly been singled out to be most like man . . . [and] have been considered highly intelligent, and mythologized as creators, destroyers, prophets, playful crowns, and tricksters.”

Here’s an unbelievable quote from Mark Pavelka, who studied ravens for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in the Introduction:

With other animals you can usually throw out 90 percent of the stories you hear about them as exaggerations. With ravens, it’s the opposite. No matter how strange or amazing the story, chances are pretty good that at least some raven somewhere actually did that.

I’m eager to learn more, especially since our local NFL football team is the Baltimore Ravens (after Baltimore-born Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven)!

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