‘The’ raven is a bird that outwardly enjoys life
Oct. 26, 2017 9:30 a.m.
There is no doubt that ravens — those most cunning, audacious and outspoken of birds — hold a place of honour in the Yukon. The raven is the territorial bird, ubiquitous in the North, and the symbol of one of the five clans of the Tlingit. Every Yukoner has a raven story: a particular game a certain pair of birds play, a clever trick performed at the perfect moment, an unsettlingly watchful individual bird.
This reputation for intelligence and charm is well deserved, says Environment Yukon conservation biologist Cameron Eckert. They are, he says, “the smartest of birds with a complex social structure.”
“Both recent and First Nations cultures have a reverence for ravens in the North.”
Ravens are unusually astute problem solvers, capable of taking cues from humans, he says. For example, if there is a bird’s nest — a possible food source for ravens, who love the eggs of other bird species, as any chicken farmer will tell you — and a person stops to look up at it, a raven is capable of noting this interest and will come back when the person is gone to check it out, Eckert says.