Raven-A crafty bird that performs tricks to find food


A raven bird performing a balancing trick.


The crafty raven


The raven will eat almost anything it can get its claws on—fruits, seeds, nuts, fish, carrion, small animals, refuse.

“Ravenous” appetite?

 Perhaps.

And it is not fussy about where it finds its food, even resorting to digging beneath snow to raid garbage bags during subzero weather in the northern parts of its range.

Ravens will also follow hunters and fishermen for days, somehow sensing that there will be food for them in time.

The Corvidae, or members of the crow family, are notorious thieves, and ravens are no exception.

They are not averse to stealing food from other birds or animals and have been observed playing tricks on dogs.

A pair will take turns—one distracting the dog while the other swoops in to take its food.

Inuit art depicts a crafty raven stealing fish from an ice fisherman.

Ravens have a special rapport with wolves, routinely following wolf packs.

They dine on the wolves’ kill, but here again, they seem to enjoy some humorous antics while doing so.

Wolf biologist L. David Mech records seeing ravens playing pranks on wolves.

He tells the story of one raven that waddled to a resting wolf, pecked its tail, and then jumped aside when the wolf snapped at it.

 When the wolf stalked the raven, the bird would let it come within a foot of him before rising. Then it would land a few feet beyond the wolf and repeat the prank.

Another account tells of a raven playing tag with wolf pups.

When the pups tired of the game, the raven sat squawking until they resumed play.

Canadian Geographic magazine refers to a radio broadcast from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, that told of ravens perching on sloped metal roofs of commercial buildings, apparently waiting for unsuspecting pedestrians to pass below so they could send the accumulated snow sliding down upon them.

No wonder some people call the raven a trickster!

Naturalists regard the raven as one of the most adaptable and resourceful of all birds.

As one source says, “its cunning is legendary.”

Whatever circumstances the raven encounters, it proves equal to the challenge of adapting to existing conditions, especially in regard to food.

Of course, not being a finicky eater helps!