|At times the [ravens] voice resembled liquid gurgling through a pipe. Then it became a drum and, soon after, a rattle.
The pair of ravens began to spiral upward on a thermal. ...They would hurtle earthwards for hundreds of feet, then unfold their wings and let the speed begin to carry them upward. higher and steeper, until they nosed over into the next plunge....
They made halfrolls, full barrel rolls, corkscrew dives, and backward loops. They carried out maneuvers in perfect tandem, wing tips often touching.... Finally, they few straight ahead for awhile, but did so upsidedown. (102))
|In Europe, a flock of ravens is called an unkindness---pests, thieves, devil-birds, vermin, bounty (when killed). But the raven was also sacred to Apollo, Greek god of light and the intellect, and among Native Americans it has many names like Great Inventor, Giant, Greedy One, Real Chief, He-With-the-Sun-In-His-Mouth. Among the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples of the Pacific Northwest, the raven is a sign of the presence of the Creator of all life.
Raven is everything.... He is a transformer who can turn himself into a hemlock needle; he is a trickster; or he is human.---Tony Hunt, a chief of the Kwagulth tribe. 
|The above article inspired several letters from readers telling of raven exploits. These were printed in the May 1999 National Geographic letters column near the front of the issue.
Years ago while in Yellowknife in the Northwestern Territories of Canada I was awakened by the howling of a dog. Looking from my hotel window, I determined the source: the dog was chained to his dog-house, and just in front of his nose a raven was teasing him. Meanwhile, the ravens partner was eating the contents of the dogs bowl. Minutes later the pair traded places. At the end the dog was hoarse and probably hungry.
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