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Mind of the Raven: Investigations and…

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds (1999)

by Bernd Heinrich

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This became tedious. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
As with Heinrich's other books, I enjoyed this one because of the great balance between science and personal stories. There is a lot of information in this book that is made easy to absorb by the intimate stories that accompany it. Heinrich focuses this book on ravens, clearly a great love of his, and that really bleeds beautifully through the facts. ( )
  SarinaLeigh | Apr 21, 2017 |
I read a lot of this, beginning and end, but somehow it drags more than [b:Ravens in Winter|122665|Ravens in Winter|Bernd Heinrich|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387699578s/122665.jpg|118103],,, it just doesn't have that magical voice. Lots of science, lots of skepticism. Heinrich says 'yes, you and I and all these ppl who send me stories about ravens they've known, we all know they're brilliant, but if we want skeptics to be convinced, we have to do this the hard way.' Ok fine. You do that - I'll catch up to the current state of our understanding of them with a newer book (this is from research almost 2 decades old).

But here's one bit. Are you as smart as a raven? If you were the size & shape of a raven, and didn't want to use feet or wings, had a bill, and wanted to pick up and carry two dried donuts (might be easier to think of them as small bagels), could you do so? Could you think of a *second* way to do so?

You'll have to find a way to see p. 298 to see what the ravens figured out.

Since I didn't read more than half the book, I won't rate.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Started it but C never finished it.
  morsch | Jan 23, 2016 |
Although this book's research is based primarily on anecdotes, the work contributes significantly to the body of knowledge about ravens. Ravens are one of the most intelligent birds, and their extreme shyness coupled with strong observational skills, quick learning abilities, infallible memories, and a knack for improvisation, make observing and recording their behaviors challenging at best. The author gives examples of his observations of ravens in Alaska, Yellowstone, and Maine, and of ravens he raises from hatchlings to breeding pairs. Observations from other scientists and amateur observers are also included, most of which provide empirical data that set a foundation for future research into this fascinating corvid.

Did you know that ravens may live 50 years or more? That they mate for life, but some may have "extra-marital affairs" during mating season without penalty from their spouse? That they may cooperate with wolves, bears, and human hunters by leading the predators to their prey? Inuit hunters have myths about Raven's cooperation with the successful hunter; many of these tales are pooshooed by the scientific community. It's amazing how so much formerly discounted Indigenous knowledge based on anecdotal or mythical information is being scientifically proven.

Heinrich devotes a chapter to a description - and a bit of a rant - about his struggles to be published due to his work not being considered research because of its inability to be replicated. He asks, why can't it be shared with the scientific community with the caveat that more research is needed? Perhaps it's political.

On my drive to work through the Sonoran desert on a reservation, I have observed during the past year, a pair of ravens who hang out in approximately the same location every morning. I have seen them huddled together for warmth, turned sideways like bookends to catch the sun, sharing shade in the summer morning sun, walking along the road and pecking at some dead thing, flying together, and at times single, but then together again after a short time. I'll never look at them the same way I did a year ago. They have become more than a couple of black birds to watch on my way to work. They have become Ravens. ( )
1 vote brickhorse | Mar 2, 2015 |
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To Raven characters I have known,
especially to Matt, Munster, Goliath,
Whitefeather, Fuzz, Houdi, and Hook
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I have lived and breathed ravens since a date I will remember: October 29, 1984.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061136050, Paperback)

Beyond croaking, "Nevermore," what exactly do ravens do all day? Bernd Heinrich, biology professor at the University of Vermont and author of Ravens in Winter, has spent more than a decade learning the secrets of these giants of the crow family. He has observed startlingly complex activities among ravens, including strong pair-bonding, use of tools, elaborate vocal communication, and even play. Ravens are just plain smart, and we can see much of ourselves in their behavior. They seem to be affectionate, cranky, joyful, greedy, and competitive, just like us. And in Mind of the Raven, Heinrich makes no bones about attributing emotions and intellect to Corvus corax--just not the kind we humans can understand. He mostly catalogs their behaviors in the manner of a respectful anthropologist, although a few moments of proud papa show through when he describes the pet ravens he hand-raised to adulthood.

Heinrich spends hundreds of loving hours feeding roadkill fragments to endlessly hungry raven chicks, and cold days in blinds watching wild ravens squabble and frolic. He is a passionate fan of his "wolf-birds," a name he gave them when he made the central discovery of the book: that ravens in Yellowstone National Park are dependent on wolves to kill for them. Mind of the Raven offers inspiring insight into both the lives of ravens and the mind of a truly gifted scientist. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:08 -0400)

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