Fearing a present from above

(Shirley Smith)

Shirley Smith

If you walked  around campus at dusk, on any given day, you have probably witnessed our roosting Raven population.
Large crows make an all out descent from every direction to the tops of trees, where they will spend the night.
There is no doubt that hundreds of them are flying over our heads, and we fear a present from above.
Here are some students’ perspective on this event as they observe this phenomenon:
Karl Jackson, biology, 47 said, “Crows would not have such a large population, if it wasn’t for humans. Crows are basically scavengers, like rats with wings. Although they are very cool, almost like a symbiotic organisms to us, but we don’t get any advantage from them. If it wasn’t for human beings, the crows wouldn’t be here in such large numbers. They probably roost here at night, because of the low predator rate. It’s very quiet here, very peaceful.”
Elizebeth saltsman, sociology, 22 said, “I think they’re kind of annoying. I’m not sure why they come here. There must be some type of food source nearby. I’ve seen them fly over,  and I guess they’re called a “Murder,” when there’s a group of them. They’re kind of neat; better than seagulls. I try to avoid walking beneath them.”
Antajuan Hunt, psychology, 21 said, “It’s something to see. They just come in groups and it’s loud, and they chirp and just make a bunch of noise. It kind of scares me a little bit. I don’t know whether to duck under something.”
According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, common ravens are considerably larger than American and Northwestern crows. Look for the Common Raven’s heftier bill, shaggy throat feathers, more slender, pointed wings, and longer, wedge-shaped tail.
Some interesting facts:

  • Raven are the largest members of the crow family, and the largest songbirds.
  • Called wolf birds. They are known to lead wolves to prey and feed alongside them.
  • Build their nests in trees, on cliffs, and on power lines (switchzoo.com).
  • Weigh up to 2 pounds, but eat 4 pounds of meat per day (Bernd Heinrich).
  • Highly intelligent using logic for problem solving (softpedia.com).
  • Bird droppings on your head is a sign of good fortune coming your way (wolfs.com).

So, the next time you’re under the flight of the ravens, a present from above just might be good luck.

Bernd Heinrich

Cornell Lab of Ornithology


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