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Mind of the Raven

Last month I shared my experiences of reading “One Man’s Owl” by Bernd Heinrich.

This month, Bernd is back – this time with “Mind of the Raven,” a tale of his many fascinating attempts to pin down the habits of the wild raven (which just happens to be a member of that smartest of avian species, the corvids).

MindRaven

Aside from all the cute raven pictures, what I loved the most about this book was how quickly its author convinced me Pearl is an honorary corvid (and thus in the running not just for “prettiest bird in the whole world,” but also “smartest bird in the whole world” too)!

This is because – as you will see – Pearl and ravens have so much in common.

For instance, both ravens and cockatiels enjoy nesting. Here is a visual example:

Ravens nesting.
Ravens nesting (image courtesy of Wikipedia).
Cockatiel nesting.
Cockatiel nesting.

Also, both ravens and cockatiels are very comfortable being “in charge” (in fact – amazingly! – they often promote themselves to this role without even having to be asked).

Here is a story from the book to showcase the similarity:

Klaus (parent to German-born tame raven Jakob) told me that whenever he gets mail, Jakob demands to have his fair portion of it. Although he is never denied, he hops around violently, giving loud frustration calls when his keeper comes into the room with a handful of mail and doesn’t immediately deliver some to him. As soon as Jakob is handed a few pieces of junk mail, he quiets down and gets busy shredding them into little pieces.

An enterprising raven gets to work shredding things.
An enterprising raven gets to work shredding things.
An enterprising cockatiel gets to work shredding things.
An enterprising cockatiel gets to work shredding things.

Finally, in another great story from the book, it is easy to see how both ravens and cockatiels are great at supervising others – at all times, but especially during bathtime.

First, [Jakob] puts his bill and head into the water stream, then his chest and even his back. As a socially liberated bird, he determines the bath’s duration. If the hose is shut off too early, he hollers loudly. When sufficiently bathed, he looks like a plucked chicken.

Freshly showered wet raven (courtesy of Flickr).
A freshly showered wet raven (photo courtesy of John.Dart at Flickr).
Freshly showered wet cockatiel.
A freshly showered wet cockatiel.

For more exciting proof of how smart cockatiels (in general) are and Pearl (specifically) is, visit “Mind of the Raven” HERE

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