Akiko Watanabe’s Ravens

Akiko Watanabe was born and raised in Japan. She studied electrical engineering, Japanese art and culture, and English, and became a professional technical translator of English and Japanese. In 1981 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she and her husband share their home with their large family of rescued cats, who are often the models for her art.

Akiko was always interested in art and is self-taught in painting. Her media include acrylics, watercolor, and pastel, and her favorite subjects include cats and wildlife, sometimes with a Japanese theme. Her ravens and crows are depicted in loving detail and vivid color, giving life to this otherwise mostly despised Japanese icon.

You can purchase prints from Akiko at her Etsy shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To Cull or Not to Cull, Caw Crow Lovers

According to popular media, so-called scientists in the U.K. plan to execute a cull of thousands of corvids in a bid to save songbird populations.  Many of us in the community, which include scientists, rehabilitators and amateurs alike, are wondering when these scientists forgot that crows, magpies and jackdaws are songbirds too. The ‘dramatic decline in farm and woodland birds in the last 50 years’ has been tenuously linked with crows, although no hard evidence has been furnished nor has there been comment on exactly which farm and woodland birds are at stake. As is usual in bias case, an objective viewpoint regarding other factors such as climate change, human encroachment, and feral species has not been offered either. To make matters worse, political interests are involved, granting wind farm owners a strong voice in adding peregrines and other protected birds to the list.

One article mentions the concern focusing on sparrow declines while another suggests Skylark issues. The sparrow decline is a sad story indeed, but one that has been ongoing for nearly a century, without any change in corvid behavior or population. According to a recent special run by the BBC, the primary threat under study now is not the cunning crow, but is the human element. Feeding behaviors causing dependency, the sparrow’s poor adaptability and the human introduction of the obnoxious wild asian parakeet which is rising in population as much as 30% per year. As reported by BBC news, “The population boom has been put down to a series of mild winters, a lack of natural predators, food being available from humans and that there are now enough parrots for a wider range of breeding partners.”

An RSPB spokesman said there was no evidence crows and magpies are behind the decline in numbers of songbirds. ‘The fall is driven by changes in the countryside,’ he said, ‘principally, a lack of nesting areas, a lack of food for chicks and a lack of food in winter. The robin population has increased by 52 per cent since 1970, long-tailed tits have increased by 89 per cent and the great tit species by 90 per cent.’

From the New York Times:

The £100,000 trial cull, due to start in March, has exposed a deep rift between two rival bird conservation groups, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Songbird Survival.

The RSPB rejects claims that avian predators are responsible for the decline in species such as the tree sparrow, corn bunting and yellowhammer, numbers of which have more than halved since 1970. It insists that the main cause of songbird decline is intensive farming, which has robbed songbirds of their habitat and food sources. It also argues that a widespread cull of crows and magpies could be illegal.

Songbird Survival questions whether farming practices are the main cause of the decline, pointing out that it has continued despite the billions of pounds paid to farmers in the past decade to protect bird habitats.

Between 2003 and 2008, there was a fall in farmland bird numbers of 7 per cent, according to figures published last week by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Populations of the main predators of songbirds have doubled in the past 30 years. Sparrowhawks, which kill an estimated 50 million songbirds a year, have increased by 152 per cent to 40,100 breeding pairs. Magpies, which raid nests, steal eggs and kill chicks, have increased by 98 per cent.

Nick Forde, a trustee of Songbird Survival, accused the RSPB of pandering to its members’ squeamishness. He said: “The well-established conservation charities rely very heavily on legacies. How many old ladies would want to leave their money to an organisation that goes round killing birds? There are a lot of vested interests who resist the idea of managing wildlife. But if we don’t we are going to lose our biodiversity.”

An RSPB spokesman said: “There are dark forces at work here. There is a lot of rhetoric going on about all our songbirds being eaten by nasty predators. We think these declines are driven by changing farming practices. Birds have been trying to outwit each other for millions of years. It’s an arms race between birds of prey and songbirds and there’s a natural balance.”

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 permitted landowners to control crows, magpies and some other corvids for specific reasons, such as protecting game birds, the spokesman said. But he added that the law did not permit a widespread cull. Killing a sparrowhawk is punishable by a pounds 5,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

The trial cull of crows and magpies will be carried out by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, which is considering sites in Hampshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Herefordshire and the Scottish Borders.

Use the following graphics on social sites or your own  website where you want to spread the word to help educate humans about the effect of climate and habitat change on birds. Where myth and villianization are lifted, our intelligent friends can be left to evolve as the planet sees fit.  You can link back to this post using the full URL or this tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/63nkfw5



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Karen Bondarchuk Crows: Scavenging Scavengers

Karen Bondarchuk, assistant professor of art, will be one of about 30 members of Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art faculty and staff who’ll display pieces in the annual art faculty exhibit, which opened on Thursday and runs through Dec. 23. The works will range from oil on canvas and mixed media to sculpture and, well, crows.  Karen originally began sculpting the birds from scavenged tire, wood, and polystyrene. “I’d see a heap of tires on the side of the road, and I’d imagine a claw sticking up in the air,” she said. “Crows are scavengers by nature, and so am I.”

 

Corvus Deflatus

 

Karen’s current sculpture and drawing work, focused exclusively on crows and ravens, examines the complex, interwoven relationship between humans and corvids.  Her artwork has been exhibited widely in the United States, as well as in Canada, Italy and England.

“Using tire scraps and an automobile headlamp, Autogenesis contemporizes the Haida and Tsimshian myth of the raven stealing the sun. Most traditional Native American and First Nations myths recognize the intelligence of these creatures by ascribing complex attributes to crows and ravens. These myths often include a corvid’s ability to shape-shift, wherein the bird will take on human qualities in order to achieve a goal or procure some desired object (which is typically shiny or luminous). The title alludes to both the process of autogeny (organic organisms developing from inorganic matter) and this raven’s genesis from automobile tires, while the form is suggestive of both a prize trophy head and a portal through which this raven is seemingly unable to pass.”

 

Autogenesis

 

Of her painted body of work, Karen says,”The large charcoal raven portraits in this body of work— Speak, Memory and others—are scaled with the intention of creating a meeting of minds or reciprocity: in as much as we are contemplating these brainy birds, they seem to be equally contemplating us. The stark, high contrast and large scale also demands our attention and consideration (as birds in the corvid family—crows, blue jays, rooks, magpies, jackdaws, ravens, etc.—so often do), while the emphasis on individuality and personality with each portrait challenges the generalities we may have regarding what a raven is. ”

Speak,Memory IV

“The title of this series is from Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiographical memoir called Speak, Memory, and relates to my desire to understand the true nature of these highly intelligent creatures, as well as the futility of my desire to do so. In my ongoing research of crows and ravens, I have had various encounters with verbal corvids, including Julian the incredible talking raven (“who’s a good bird”), Blue, the feisty imprinted blue jay that imitates meowing cats and door alarms, and a cursing green-eyed British jackdaw, and I am struck by the fact that their ability to speak makes these birds even more inscrutable. The language they utter doesn’t speak of them or their memories, but of us and our desire to understand these intelligent creatures on human terms.”

Crow Magnus

 

 

Bondarchuk’s contribution to the art show is a six-foot charcoal-and-ink drawing titled, “In Defense of a Stolen Golfball” which was inspired by a story she heard about ravens stealing balls from a Virginia golf course.

“The ravens were fascinated by the golf balls. In this, the raven is defending itself.”

 

Karen Bondarkchuck’s In Defense of the Golf Ball

 

You may follow Karen by visiting her website at www.karenbondarchuk.com.

 

Jutta Maue Kay – Crows on a Cloud


©Jutta Maue Kay

Jutta Maue Kay is a German native with a passion for human rights and conservation. She has been all over the world, and currently resides in Vancouver, where her newest subjects are in vast abundance.

The images she captures of the Ravens and Carrion Crows of the Pacific Northwest are truly special. Each one is infused with the trickster spirit, dark elegance, or intelligent curiosity these birds possess.

©Jutta Maue Kay


©Jutta Maue Kay



©Jutta Maue Kay

To see more incredible photos from Jutta, head over to her Crows Set on Flickr


Film Noir & Creepy Corvid Movies

If it is raining and gloomy where you are, then it is time to snuggle up in your favorite blanket, make some popcorn, and watch a really good (or awesomely bad) movie to celebrate Halloween. Ravens, Crows, and black feathered birds of all kinds have appeared in movies since film was invented.  Their voices and presence enable the film creators to convey mystery, foreshadowing, doom, danger, and in some cases – hope.

Some of the most popular feathered flicks of old include Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds,  Vincent Price in The Raven,  and Betty Boop in The Scared Crows.  Ravens also appeared prominently in episodes of the Adam’s Family. Since then, Crows, Ravens and their cousins have been used as a signature (for directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky), mystical guide (The Crow), and every kind of harbinger or grim reaper.  To help you pick out the right one for you, we’ve compiled a list!

Foreign Classic

This 1943 french film ‘Le Corbeau’ (The Raven) follows a mysterious writer of poison pen letters, known only as Le Corbeau. who plagues a French provincial town, unwittingly exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface. Made during the Nazi Occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau was attacked by the right-wing Vichy regime, the left-wing Resistance press, the Catholic Church, and was banned after the Liberation. But some—including Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre—recognized the powerful subtext to Clouzot’s anti-informant, anti-Gestapo fable, and worked to rehabilitate Clouzot’s directorial reputation after the war. Le Corbeau brilliantly captures a spirit of paranoid pettiness and self-loathing turning an occupied French town into a twentieth-century Salem.

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Cult

Dubbed “a fatal mistake from beginning to end” by the New York Times upon its release, this Poe-inspired Universal horror flick has since gained a latter day cult following, with Peary himself referring to it as “great fun”, and accurately noting that Lugosi seems to be having “a field day” playing the “fiendish surgeon” with a penchant for everything-Poe. Equally effective — and surprisingly sympathetic — is top-billed Karloff as a tortured criminal whose perceived ugliness has prevented him from becoming the “good man” he longs to be; his intentionally botched facial surgery at the hands of evil Lugosi is tragic to behold.  An excellent choice for anyone into classic horror.

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Family Classics



Vincent Price in The Raven



The Raven is a strange little film from 1960, made for children, in which horror may very well be the funniest thing to happen to you. Vincent Price teams up with Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff in this horror spoof that makes light of every horror movie scare feature.

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Noir



Alfred poses with Buddy the Raven (The Birds)



A classic movie for any Halloween party or gathering is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  Starring Tippi Hendren as a blond California woman out to have fun, The Birds shows Hitchcock’s skills of psychological manipulation. Unlike horror movies that rely on straight gore and savagery, the birds scared audiences with the moments of quiet and isolation. The film has since become the single most influential piece Hitchcock ever produced.
The birds in the movie are mostly seagulls, but sparrows and crows do appear, all waiting for their chance to swarm on the helpless people. It struck a nerve with watchers because birds are indeed everywhere, and are usually ignored as friendly or harmless. But what if that flock of doves hanging out on the street decided to become hostile? What if those seagulls circling around at the beach chose to coordinate an attack on someone, for some unknown reason?

One of the most remembered scenes involves the crows on the gym equipment in the children’s playground. As the children quietly prepare for recess, the crows begin to gather in larger and larger numbers. Soon they are a malevolent force, ready for the attack. Where most filmmakers would have only threatened adults, Hitchcock sends the birds after the kids, bringing out the terror in both kids and adults watching. The image is so strong in our culture that few now see a massive group of crows without being reminded of that scene.  If you can get your hands on an original Black and White copy of this film, the imagry is even more impressive.

Hitchcock hired Ray Berwick to work with the birds in the film. Ray trained birds for months and months. Ravens and crows are extremely intelligent and even learned to peck hamburger off of actors’ faces, for some ‘attack’ scenes. But the smaller birds were more trouble. In the scene where sparrows fly down the chimney, they tried lowering 2,000 bullfinches down. The bullfinches decided to just hang out on available perches! They ended up having to have the actors pretend to shoo away imaginary birds, and effected in the flying avians.

Seagulls were better. Ray had them trained to circle over actors, attack, and then return to his hand. When working with the children he would carefully wire their beaks shut, just in case, but the birds were extremely well behaved.

The ravens were the smartest and often had minds of their own. One raven, Corvus, hated Rod Taylor and would attack him any time he saw him. Another raven, named Buddy, loved humans and refused to attack them!  Both are sadly no longer with us today, but  Ray continues to train birds for film, including the Crow in our next pick.

Very recently, zoetifex studio create a wonderful animated short in tribute of the film:

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B-Rated



Carmen Electra in The Chosen One



You might think I had to dig deep for this one, but the truth is that I thought this was a great movie when I was 8.

When a serial killer mysteriously and savagely murders a young Indian woman in rural Los Angeles county, her sister McKenna must replace her as the keeper of an amulet, the sacred crescent. Reluctantly, McKenna accepts the role of chosen one. With the amulet and after the rigors of the ritual, she takes on the spirit and powers of the raven, the good forces in the battle against evil, the wolf. McKenna’s powers include a thirst for milk and great sexual energy, which she unleashes on her former boyfriend, Henry, a cop. The spirit of the wolf inhabits Rose, Henry’s jilted lover. Rose wrecks havoc of her own before a final showdown with the chosen one.  Great flick if you are 8 or just really drunk.

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Direct to Video



Stephen King's Crow series



Fast forward to the 80’s and you can be sure Stephen King covered this topic thoroughly. His Night of the Crow opens with a couple passing through a small Oklahoma town discover that it has been taken over by a homicidal cult that worships a crow god–and that all the cult members are children. Not a bad movie for Halloween – we recommend melted candy-corn on your popcorn to go with it.

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Popular



The Crow



Guided by a portentous crow , Brandon Lee plays a deceased rock musician who returns from the grave to systematically torture and kill the outlandishly violent gang of hoodlums who murdered him and his fiancée the year before. The Crow is a film haunted by a chilling production accident, but beautifully executed in spite of itself. The story becomes that much more symbolic and meaningful, even shrouded in comic book dialog and action. Highly recommended!

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Foreign Horror

Kaw is your typical ‘New Cinema’ style horror movie in which  the Sheriff of a small town is about to retire when his town is attacked by blood thirsty ravens that eat human flesh. Meanwhile his wife Cynthia visits a farm where a Mennonite family lives to say farewell to her friend Gretchen and discloses a dark secret about the origin of the fierce ravens. Clearly derivative of The Birds, not all is lost. This movie makes good background imagry if you plan to have a large party.

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Independent

Ricardo De Montreuil’s absolutely brilliant 6 minute short THE RAVEN is fluidly filmed by Director of Photography Alex Sanchez. This is a chase flick, wrapped in the trappings of a not too distant, or far-fetched dystopian future, where men are exterminated by machines (considering as you read this, somewhere unmanned planes are dropping fire from the sky, and major metropolitan municipalities are considering unmanned robotic droids to police the cities… it is a fiction uncomfortably close to tomorrow’s facts).

But above the cautionary tale, which has been and always will be at the heart of sci-fi or speculative fiction, it’s a truly  impressive and stylishly made film.  This one won’t get you through Halloween, but it will get you through right now. Enjoy!

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What movies would you add to the list?


Scarecrows – Scary or Wary?

The scarecrow is commonly associated with modern references like the Wizard of Oz and Batman, but its original purpose was to discourage birds such as crows or magpies from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops.The earliest reference is in Japanese lore (circa 700 AD) in which a Kuebiko is depicted as adiety which knows everything of the world from its unmoving location among the fields.

By Drake1024

 

Yet, maybeall is not asit appears. First, was the scarecrow reallyonly a utilitarian object used for its stated purpose?

According to Occult View, “In agrarian societies farmers lived close to their land andtheir natural world, unlike today’s modern corporate farms…which is why the scarecrow would seem pointless, since it does not really scare crows!Farmersknewthis.”

Today we are learning anew just how intelligent crows and ravens are. As we’ve seen in studies documented by PBS since 2009, (and again just last night in Nature’s Crows special), Crows and their cousins never forget a face.Farmers skilled in the art of olde probably knew this.After all, if a crow can remember you and I, they are quite capable of recognizing the ol’ tattie bogle that hasn’t moved an inch since he showed up. They are also not fooled by plastic owls. So why the continued use of bogeymen?

By Radojavor

 

“Perhaps one possible purpose of the scarecrow was notjust to scare away birds, but to mark the land as belonging to the farmer. Or if a serf, to the land’s lord.Stay out!The idea of hanging bodies as a warning was used in the past. The ancient Romans left crucified prisoners to send a message to their population. The infamous Vlad the Impaler impaled prisoners of war as a gruesome warning. The scarecrow, impaled and crucified, could have served a similar, if less graphic, purpose.Call it a Scareman.

Farms were always subject to the whims of nature, and the farmer lived at the mercy of a capricious environment. A drought or flood could result in starvation. An infestation of pests could devastate crops, a plague destroy the livestock. The scarecrow could also have served as an effigy, a form of substitute human sacrifice. The scarecrow would be offered to the natural world in place of the living, that nature might be sated.Like the gargoyles on the gothic cathedral, the scarecrow might have been a hex to protect the farm from harm andkeep evil spirits away.”

Odin’s Ravens

Odin’s Ravens

In Norse mythology, Odin hung upside down from the world-tree Yggdrasil in order to attain enlightenment. He had to suffer greatly for his wisdom. After nine days Odin achieved his goal and discovered the Runes, died and was reborn, freed from the tree but at the cost of one of his eyes.Sufferingbefore spiritual growth is a theme in many religions.

To complete the circle, Odin was linked to his two ravens, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), which travel the world giving Odin information. Here ravens represent the power of the mind as they perch on Odin’s shoulder whispering in his ears. As crows perch on the scarecrow, grantingthem theadvantage of sight over the fields.

Fast forward a bit to the dark ages. In folklore from the British isles, crows were considered omens of doom and death. If crows were considered bad omens, then using a scarecrow to banish them seems to have a metaphysical as well as a practical purpose.

These symbolic supernatural attributes are a reflection of the genuinevirtues of the crow.They are mischievous,enterprising, adaptive, and highly communicative, and the scarecrow represents not the will of man to ‘scare’ them away, but that man was scared of the crow.

As the ages wear on, methods change, and scarecrows have joined the ranks among the legends and folktale pasttimes, existing only as lonely halloween decorations.

Today, highly reflective aluminized PET film ribbons are tied to the plants to create shimmers from the sun, a futuristic approach to pest problems, however we all know how much corvids like shiny things.

The Crows Shall Inherit the Earth

Animalia is an inter-species fairytale about a girl who is disenchanted with the world and wishes she could fly. She joins the circus only to discover it is a secret military operation. She then runs away to the woods and falls under the spell of a mystical deer. When she becomes an antlered deer-creature, she finally achieves flying powers and enters an ethereal world of hybrid creatures.

Animalia began as a multi-media performance created by inter-diciplinary artist C. Ryder Cooley. Now the story is coming to life as a unique animation and printed book. Collaborator Bart Woodstrup is working with Ryder, animating her hand drawn illustrations. The Animation will be available as a digital download and screened alongside Animalia performances. It will also be available as a limited edition DVD with the printed Animalia Book. This project is in the final stages of production. Currently a 12-minute assembly has been created. The final animation will be approximately 15-20 minutes. The remaining work involves creating additional drawings, scanning and animating the drawings, finessing transitions between scenes and recording/mixing additional music for the soundtrack. Below is what is out so far…enjoy!

Kudos to Beth Surdut for sending along this story!

Crows and the Great October Roost


By T.L.Kemp


It is  the time when the crows begin to form small roosting groups in the evening. Observers may note flights of crows all heading in one direction in late afternoon/evening or gathering in a group in the treetops. These gatherings are generally much smaller that the large winter communal roosts and we presume they serve as a sort of training ground for the sort of social interactions that occur later on when hundreds or thousands of crows gather in one location. One would also presume that the smaller roosts generally are comprised largely of crows closely related to each other by blood or mating and occupying territories adjourning or very close to each other.

According to Michael Westerfield,

“Roosting areas tend to be located where there are large, mature trees with open spaces in between. In cities and towns, cemeteries, college campuses, malls with adjacent trees, old rail yards, and older neighborhoods and industrial areas, and the like tend to be favored. If there is a river or other body of water nearby, its a definite plus. The crows generally settle on the branches of trees which have already lost their leaves, or on the uppermost branches of those that haven’t, so it is easy to spot their silhouettes against the still bright sky. At this time of year, the temporary roosts may be more loosely organized and spread out over a wider area that those in colder weather.

If there are crows in your neighborhood throughout the year, it’s likely that there will be one of these temporary fall roosts nearby. The amazing thing about these roosts, and even some of the gigantic winter roosts, is that one can be fairly nearby and most folks will be totally oblivious to its presence. I suppose it has to do with the timing, when people are still at work, commuting home, or just settling in for a long autumn evening. Probably the most common reason folks notice crow roosts relates to crow droppings on their cars or sidewalks in the morning. If your car is clean, and you want to find your local roost, just take a walk in the late afternoon – with your ears free of noise making devices. Choose an area with large, old trees and open spaces. Watch and listen for crows passing by up above and move in the general direction in which they are moving and, if you are lucky, you might just arrive at the place the crows will choose to spend the night. You’ll know it when you get there!”

Ravens, Tom Ford Eyewear And Brand Myth

As Tim Girvin, brander extraordinaire, says it best, “Ravens as the dark storyteller, the mythic black rainbow.”

Is the etymology of corvid derived from the ancient Proto-Indo European seed sound kos, for shout? That would seem appropriate – ravens for shouting. Marketing as the shout, raven-style. But it’s the sound of the kraaak and croak that reaches to the heart of the word and the story – and running the linguistic gauntlet for several thousand years, the sounds of the black one, the ravening clan, that first bespeak the legend.

To Tom Ford, and the raven as a stylistic emblem, the commentaries are interesting to Tom’s shooting of eyewear/ware that is inter-played with corvids. Noting sensuality, Anne of Caverville’s reflections offer Tom Ford’s use of ravens in his Fall 2010 ad campaign for Tom Ford Eyewear with Freja Beha Erichsen and Nicholas Hoult can be interpreted as his belief in a female-centric, new consciousness. Ford is the ace of sensual branding or hot, sexy, sizzling marketing  whichever you prefer. The sexy marketing maestro has always pushed the envelope, roaming through the closed doors of repressed sexuality and leaving them slightly ajar upon leaving.

According to Anne’s review,  “If ravens seem a bit dark and disturbing, consider them not only symbols of death, degeneration and bad luck. Tom Ford grew up in Austin, Texas – not Santa Fe, of course — but near America’s Indian Country, where ravens are the hallmark of shape-shifting. Ravens can see all things that are hidden. In addition, ravens brought light into the darkness of the world and transformed part of Maka, Mother Earth. A raven named plants and taught animals. After the success of his debut film A Single Man, a more thoughtful Tom Ford may be evolving into a mythical storyteller.”

The campaign features Freja Beha Erichsen and Nicholas Hoult plus a bunch of ravens. (the story continues right after the jump with more images!) There’s something undoubtedly, unquestionably strange about the imagery and people’s reactions. Kissing ravens? Devilishly smiling while being surrounded by ravens? Breastfeeding a raven? Now that’s something only Ford will be able to get away with. As much as they hate admitting to it,” the fash-people love to feel shocked and appalled. Disgusted, even. I’s in their uberfashionable nature. We, the mere mortals we’ll only see Hitchock all over again and think – oh, look, there’s Freja looking like Harry Potter! – say you didn’t thought about that!”

“Ravens and the corvid class  are, in the mythic mind, a grouping of creatures that, spread all over the world, cast a sight into the legendary mind of man and their link to the archetypal experience of the dark mystery and beauty of natural experience. Gathering the raven clan to the notion of brand, or telling experience, is entirely personal – what does this bird say to you? To each, their own, in the cast of Raven shadow and call to themselves. For me, their call always means one thing – pay attention!”

References:

Tim Girvin “The Legacy Of The Corvid In Retail Brandstory And Merchandising.” , Sensuality , Stylefrizz ,  OpticalVision,

Unusual Crow Sanctuary Flying High

Most people don’t mind having a cat or dog around the house, or even a rabbit.

But a Wolverhampton, UK  couple have gone a step further by sharing their life with dozens of squawking crows – some of which have even appeared on TV.

Mark and Lisa Edge run a sanctuary at their Wednesfield home for unwanted or injured crows, ravens, magpies and rooks and have 37 birds in their care.

The below video gives an intimate glimpse of the sanctuary, and features Jester the Jackdaw and Roxy the Raven, both superstars.

“I used to be so scared of birds,” Lisa said. “I didn’t like them flying near me or coming anywhere near me.

“A few years ago, we found a crow on the ground and brought it home. We looked after it for a few months and it just spiralled out of that really.

“We were then getting people contact us to ask if we would take their unwanted birds from them.”

The couple, who have two sons, Michael, aged 21, and Thomas, 15, keep the birds in aviaries in their back garden, although some will creep into the house on occasions.

Lisa, aged 48, said: “Sometimes Mark will sit on the chair and eat his tea with one of the birds.

“The birds are so tame, friendly and intelligent.”

Lisa, a lollipop lady, said some of the birds had a calcium deficiency in their wings, while others had been attacked by cats.

The couple keep them an average of three to four months before releasing them back into the wild.

She added some of the birds had even made it onto the small screen, with parts on the likes of TV dramas Midsomer Murders and Frost. “Roxy the raven was in Midsomer Murders and Frost,” she said.

The birds eat chicken and cat biscuits, although some like special treats such as scrambled eggs or ice lollies.

Source: Nicky Butler for UK’s Express&Srar http://www.expressandstar.com/news/