The Wise Raven

The Wise Raven

The following video came in an email today and it brought back memories of the ravens that lived near my old lighthouse at McInnes Island. Ravens are very intelligent!


Orion constellation (south)

I was on the early morning shift for most of my time there. I loved it! Every morning very early (about 03:00) I walked from the house up through the trees in the dark with coffee cup in hand for the first weather report of the morning. It was such a delight if the sky was clear to see the constellations I recognized. One could almost tell the time by their position in the sky, especially with Orion, the hunter.

McInnes Island

Three hours later I was on my way again for the second weather at 06:00. At this time the sun was up or coming up and the ravens were active. They are smart, but lazy too. Something like us humans! Two ravens were always present every morning for their treat! They used to follow me from tree to tree on my way up to the light tower.

Feeling occasionally brave, they flew over my head at a low height. I used to feed them peanuts (in the shell) and they knew this. Normally I threw them on the ground, but one morning I threw one in the air. One of the flying ravens made a dive at it but missed. I threw another and it tried again.

Raven - photo Jakob Sigurðsson

After a few days practice they almost caught one. While I was in the radio room I used to see them come hopping up to the screen door. I got into the habit of throwing a peanut or two out the door, so they waited. Finally I got playful. I started hiding the peanuts on the fence, beside a rock, on the weather instruments – anywhere I knew they could perch but would have to work for the peanuts.

After a few weeks of playing with them (or them playing with me!), they would wait for me in the trees every morning. It became a ritual for us both to greet the morning sun and relax a little. I never did get them to catch one in the air, but then I guess I retired too early!

The photo above is from a bird photographer from Iceland named Jakob Sigurðsson whose photo website is here.

An interesting site on the history and mythology of ravens can be found here.

The raven is an aboriginal symbol and is symbolized in many of the artworks as illustrated here.

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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