Marylanders love the football team, sure, but how many of us have stopped to think about just how special the namesake bird really is? If you don't know much about ravens, you probably don't realize just how smart, playful, and fascinating these creatures really are. Check out these special attributes of ravens!
Highly Intelligent: Ravens are considered one of the most intelligent bird species. They can solve problems and puzzles and some studies place them with equivalent intelligence of an adult chimp!
Vocal Mimicry: Ravens have impressive vocal capabilities and can mimic various sounds, including the calls of other birds, animal sounds, and even human voices. Remember that Poe poem where the raven taunts him endlessly? There's more truth to it than you might realize.
Tool Usage: Ravens have been observed using tools in the wild. For example, they may use sticks to extract insects from tree bark or to break open nuts.
Cultural Significance: Many cultures recognize the intelligence and wit of the playful raven! They were the messengers of the Norse god Odin -- he had a pair of them who were tasked with bringing him news. They were a symbol of bad luck in Greek mythology, but in many Native American stories, they were tricksters who often provided humans with important things.
Cooperative Behavior: Ravens exhibit cooperative behavior and are known to form complex social structures. They often work together when scavenging or hunting, and they can even share food with other ravens.
Playful Nature: Ravens have a playful side and are known to engage in games and acrobatics, such as rolling in the snow
and crossing busy streets just for fun. They love collecting trinkets that they find in the human world, and if you feed them regularly, they just might share their treasures with you!
Lifespan: Ravens are long-lived birds, with some individuals living up to 30 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live even longer. Two even live at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore -- their names are Rise and Conquer.
Courtship Displays: The football players aren't the only ones who like to show off their athletic prowess! During courtship, ravens engage in impressive aerial displays, including synchronized flying and acrobatic maneuvers. That's sure to get the mate of their dreams looking.
Memory Skills: Ravens possess excellent memory capabilities. They can remember specific feeding sites and recall them even after several years. Compare that to your own memory -- how well do you remember how to get to that favorite restaurant in Baltimore that you went to five years ago?
Cultural Learning: Think about all of the things you learned from your parents and grandparents. You're not alone! Ravens can also learn from observing and imitating the behaviors of other ravens, allowing them to transmit knowledge and skills across generations.