Raven talking to me??

 I have a pair of wild ravens and a pair of crows that I spend time with, the bolder of the raven pair comes and stands near us and bobs his head, clicks his beak and makes a quiet noise that sounds like a child saying MUM until I give him some food - what is he/she saying really?

I love watching the interaction between them and the crows, but this is something I have only seen him/her do when he is on his own near me.

  • Hi M Theory.
    It is brilliant when you get some interaction with a bird like that, I was told years ago on here that a Robin will sing softly if you have its attention.
    He/She may have noticed it gets food if it makes a noise.

    My Flickr photos

  • It does seem like the Raven has got you well trained! Hope you continue to enjoy the experience all the same.


    Nige   Flickr

  • A "tame" Raven made the local news last year when he started to talk to visitors at Knaresborough castle in a Yorkshire accent. I think the lady in charge held the title of keeper of the Queens Ravens or similar.
    On a more serious note I have just finished reading a book by Jim Crumley ,the nature of Winter, and he describes having a conversation with a Raven while out walking so maybe you are on the right track.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • I no longer have any doubt that he is talking to me, today there were no other birds up there for a while (very bad weather) and he found me , stayed about twenty feet away for a while, then starting nagging me! There is no way it can have been meant for another bird. However, it's just as well I don't have an audience, as being followed around by a big black bird calling mum, mum - must look a little odd!
    I never realised they had such a repertoire, I can recognise some of the calls now, but it's these very quiet talking noises that I've never heard before.
  • I read recently, M Theory, that given all that we currently know about animals the nul hypothesis is that they are intelligent and possess emotional intelligence, and the task is to argue, convincingly, otherwise.

    I’ve never been as close to Ravens as you evidently have, but do call to them on occasion. I remember a young one that seemed to me to be distressed and an adult and I did some comforting, respectively.

    I’ve been at much closer quarters with Crows and Magpies, both punctually (when saving each from cats) and longer term (in the summer months when my workload is lighter, I volunteer at a regional wildlife rescue centre and have spent a great deal of time caring for and rehabilitating corvids).

    My impression is that they can rapidly become familiar with individual people and cease to see us as a threat (which puts in question the assertion that ‘when a bird sees us, it sees a predator’). In fact, one of the problems with injured, sick, or orphaned birds is that if the initial rescuer keeps them too long, they tend to strongly imprint onto humans in general and that makes it extremely difficult to reintroduce them to the wild.

    On a personal note, I’m generally a happy man and have had, thus far, a very fortunate and fulfilling life. But the greatest prolonged show of tenderness I’ve ever witnessed was not in humans, but in a pair of Carrion Crows who had lost eggs/young due to extremely bad weather. Three days of mourning in the crown of one of our cedars.

    More specifically on talking birds, Magpies I’ve cared for can rapidly build up a shared vocabulary with the person caring for them.

    Enjoy, you and the Raven, your chats -
  • Oh, and on smaller birds, my late father once rescued an adult female Blackbird from some fruit tree netting and always insisted that she, repeatedly and for years, came close to him in an expression of gratitude.

    We used to rib him about the story until, one year, we had an early Blackbird nest in the middle of town in a wrought-iron column in front of my partner’s flower shop. The weather was dreadful (snow the morning they fledged) and we fed them for weeks, the male (the female having disappeared (second nest already?)) quickly learned to discern the sound of the car’s engine as the worm delivery arrived.

    Gradually, the young birds dispersed. Then, in the summer, the male returned with one juvenile, and spent a day on the pavilion outside the shop. We always thought it was a case of: ‘So youngster, this is where you hatched’.

    Now, some might say that they’d come for food only. But if we accept that idea, we’d also have to accept that if a couple, say, returns to Spain on a second honeymoon, they’re both only in it for the paella.