My cousin recently brought an article in the Anchorage Daily News to my attention. It’s a short piece describing the electrocution of two common ravens after encountering power lines in town. The headline immediately piqued my interest:
Ravens form a wake-like gathering after 2 electrocuted.
Ravens have feelings, too, at least judging from an eerie scene Tuesday morning on Minnie Street in east Fairbanks.
After two ravens roosting on top of a power transformer were electrocuted, hundreds of ravens showed up within a minute or two and started silently circling overhead and perching in nearby trees.
There are several quotes from witnesses in the article too, including the expected reference to The Birds. But really this is intriguing. The more I read of ravens the more impressed I become at their level of intelligence.
I won’t go so far as to say the birds were showing emotion or even paying some sort of homage to their dead brethren, but it does make one wonder at the behavior. Especially in light of some of the research coming out on these fascinating birds.
"I’ve never heard of ravens holding funerals," he (Travis Booms, Alaska Dept. of Game and Fish) said. "It wouldn’t surprise me if the birds that got zapped were still alive and were acting erratically. That would attract the attention of other ravens."
Maybe. But maybe not.