The RAVEN – genus Corvus
Perhaps the most famous Raven in literature is the Raven in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, published in 1845. It’s been written that Poe considered using the Parrot as the bird in the poem, but turned to the Raven, a bird considered an omen of ill-will. But why does the Raven in Poe’s poem perch on the bust of Pallas, the Goddess of Wisdom?
Is the Raven a symbol of both sadness and healing?
What is the real tweet-tweet on the Raven in real-life? Here are a few little tidbits to pass along to your kids and grandkids to combine literature and life:
– The Raven is the largest of all black birds. It has a thick neck covered in shaggy feathers, a distinct beak and a wedge-shaped tail. Everything on the Raven is black or near black… its feathers, beak, legs and eyes. The blackness of the Raven absorbs both heat and light in high, cold elevations.
– The Raven is smart, inquisitive, social, adaptable and friendly, and does very well around people. It is a notorious scavenger and has no problem raiding human dwellings, farms and garbage dumps, heaps and piles. The Raven is also smart enough to store food as surplus.
– The Raven is an excellent flyer and glider. While courting, Ravens have been known to perform wonderful aerial acrobatics.
– Ravens are known to mate for life. A pair stakes out its territory, builds its nest of mud, sticks, feathers and the like and then fiercely protects its home. The female lays 4 – 8 eggs and incubates them while being fed by the male. Young Ravens leave the nest but stay with their protective flocks for up to a year while learning all about scavenging and hunting.
– The call of the Raven is deep and distinct… a kraa-kraa-kraa sound. But the most interesting thing about a Raven’s sound is that it can imitate human beings and other animals. Ravens have been known to tease house pets with their incredible imitative skills. Edgar Allan Poe was most certainly aware of these special vocalization skills with his famous talking Raven.
Ah. The Raven in real-life. Combining literature and life makes reading so much more special.
Reading The Raven with your kids and grandkids, with knowledge of the Raven as a real-life bird, gives you so much to discuss… and your kids so much to think about as they embrace the literature.
You may wish to venture into the legend and folklore associated with the Raven, too. Both feared and admired, the Raven has come to symbolize so many things to so many cultures… from death to re-birth, harming to healing, treachery to fun trickery, darkness to a messenger from the Sun, deceit to prophecy and wisdom.
The message of both sadness and healing? Maybe Poe did his research of the real-life Raven.
Join me here each day in August for AUGUST TWEET-TWEETS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a bit of “tweet-tweet”!