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Birds: The Tame Raven

[Titmouse]  [Golden Oriole]  [Shrike]  [Jay]  [Blue Jay]  [Magpie]  [Raven]  [Tame Raven]  [Rook]  [Canary]  [More Information About Birds] 

( Originally Published 1894 )

The Raven may be easily tamed, and in private life is always an amusement, if sometimes an annoyance. Like all birds which are capable of imitating sounds and which learn words and phrases it will often "speak its lines," with startling appropriateness as to time and place. Captain Brown tells a good story of a Raven which belonged to a gentleman who resided on the borders of the New Forest in Hampshire. On one occasion a traveller who was passing through the forest was startled by the frequent repetition of the words: "Fair play, gentlemen! fair play l for God's sake, gentlemen, fair play!" and upon tracing the source of the sound discovered the tame raven defending himself from the attacks of two of his own species. It is needless to say that the traveller rescued the "gentleman" from the two "ruffians" who molested him. Captain Brown also tells of a tame raven who was an expert rat-catcher and whose method was to place a meat bone in front of a rat hole and to stand on a ledge above the hole, pouncing on the rat as soon as he emerged from his retreat. In this way he captured as many as six in a fore-noon.

Dr. Stanley tells the following story of a and the Dog. Raven and a "A strong attachment was once formed between a raven and a large otter-dog. The raven had been taken when young, and reared in a stable-yard, where the dog was kept chained up. A friendship soon commenced, which, increasing from little to more, in time ripened into a most extraordinary degree of intimacy. At first the bird was satisfied with hopping about in the vicinity of the kennel, and occasionally pecking a hasty morsel from the dog's feeding-pan when the latter had finished his meal. Finding, however, no interruption on the part of his friend, the raven soon became a constant attendant at meal times, and, taking up his position on the edge of the dish, acted the part of a regular guest and partaker of the dog's dinner, which consisted usually of meal and milk, with occasional scraps of offal meat, a piece of which the bird would often snatch up, almost from the very mouth of the dog, and hasten beyond the reach of his chain, as if to tantalise his four-footed friend; and then hopping towards him, would play about, and hang it close to his nose; and then as speedily, at the moment the dog was preparing to snap it up, would dart off beyond the reach of the chain At other times he would hide the piece of meat under a stone, and then coming back, with a cunning look, would perch upon the dog's head. It was observed, however, that he always ended his pranks by either sharing or giving up the whole piece to his friend the dog. By some accident the raven had. fallen into a tub of water, and, either weakened by struggling, or unable to get out owing to its feathers being soaked with water, it was nearly drowned. The dog (whether the same dog or another does not appear), chained at a short distance, saw the poor bird's danger, and dragging his heavy kennel towards it, reached his head over the side of the tub, and taking the drowning raven up in his mouth, laid him gently on the ground, when he soon recovered."

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