|photo by Dee Otter https://www.etsy.com/listing/224706481/raven-couple-8x10-photo-print|
We humans think we are so special. We think we are the only ones to feel emotion. We think we are the only ones to feel compassion. We think we are the only ones who feel love. We think we are the only ones to experience grief. We do have a massive brain and perhaps this facilitates more intense emotions, but to think we are the only creature to experience these feelings is utterly ridiculous. Elephants revisit the bones of dead herd members and will spend hours fondling them. When a bone of a hippo or giraffe is added to the pile of elephant bones those non-elephant bones are ejected or ignored. Bonobos chimps are known to mourn the death of a mate or child so intensely that the frequently die of starvation or shock. Dogs will show grief at the grave of their master. Upon finding a dead member of a flock crows will spend hours protecting the corpse, attacking any creature that approaches. They maintain this vigil for hours and then will suddenly disperse. Usually related flock members will then linger on for days.
|photo by Dee Otter https://www.etsy.com/listing/224703770/raven-bond-8x10-photo-print|
|photo by Dee Otter https://www.etsy.com/listing/207797409/raven-snowflakes-8x10-photo-print|
Raven’s intelligent behavior is related to mating and reproduction. Immature birds begin to court at a very early age, but may not bond for another 2-3 years (Like our adolescent dating). Mid-air spectacular displays of acrobatics are meant to show off the raven’s fitness, skills, intelligence, and ability to provide food. A bonded pair will spend hours performing complex aerodynamic maneuvers. They test each other’s compatibility, strengths and weaknesses. (Dinner and dancing) Once mated, ravens will nest together for life. I have seen this display several times and, honestly, I think they are just having fun.
“If you say the word, we will beat those birds
Back to Acapulco Bay
It is perfect for a flying honeymoon, they say
Come fly with me, let's fly, let’s fly,
Pack up, let's fly away”
Excerpt from Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly away with Me” by songwriters: Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen
Only twelve species in the entire animal kingdom mate for life. I knew that ravens mated for life but I never fully appreciated the strength this bond until I accidentally hit and killed one of these intelligent birds, the experience made a lifelong impression.
The truth is we are not the only species capable of emotion or mourning the loss of a loved one. Ravens are capable of intense emotional bonding that is every bit as powerful as the love that we feel.
A RAVEN LOVE STORY, Etching. 5 inch x 7 inch 2014 $40
a special thanks to Dee Otter for allowing me to use her wonderful photos.