"Blackbirds" and ravens are very closely related genetically, and so in appearance and behavior (indeed ravens are black birds; most people can't tell the difference) and in this instance, what goes for one corvid goes for the other. I feel utterly defeated by stuff like this, but since I'm still alive, will do what I can. Which right now is a very small thing: to share a review I wrote for SLJ . The book came out more than ten years ago and if anybody in the idiotic USDA program had bothered to read it, this whole ghastly business might have been averted.
Check out the author's credentials (from the Amazon page):
Bernd Heinrich is the author of Mind of the Raven, which won the John Burroughs Medal for Natural History Writing and was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times Notable Book as well as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science and Technology Award. He is also the author of Bumblebee Economics, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and The Trees in My Forest, which won a New England Book Award. A professor of biology at the University of Vermont, Heinrich also spends time in the forests of western Maine, where he has done much of his field research and training for ultramarathons.He's written other fine books as well. Check out also the raves for this one on the Amazon page linked to the title, below. And for more, related books about ravens and their close relatives, visit this blog: http://nonsuchbook.typepad.com/nonsuch_book/2009/04/weekly-geeks-quoth-the-raven-nevermore.html
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds by Bernd Heinrich* (2000)
Heinrich's adventures with ravens are consistently interesting and illuminating, whether he's crouching for hours in cold rain to observe them, hauling animal carcasses into the woods to attract them, or visiting in the homes of their human companions.
In 29 readable and richly illustrated chapters, he shares his own experiences with the birds as well as many anecdotes collected by observers from around the globe. He explores "the possibility of conscious choice" in these obviously intelligent but often baffling birds, and believes they owe much of their complexity to the fact that they have evolved in close association with dangerous carnivores--wolves and humans.
Looking at the common fear that ravens damage crops, Heinrich convincingly asserts they have been unjustly accused and persecuted by farmers, and he studies firsthand the relationship of ravens with Eskimo hunters. Sometimes the research just leads him from one mystery to another, but wherever his questions take him, the journey is always fascinating as the many layers of raven psychology are revealed.
Perhaps best known on this continent for its "trickster" talents, the raven has been associated in Europe with divination, death, and the Norse god Odin. Heinrich's perspective, that of the scientist, is just as compelling for modern readers and does full justice to this bird's mythical reputation. A fine, entertaining book for general readers, as well as an excellent resource for those seeking meticulously gathered and documented scientific information.
One more time...
|illo found at http://nonsuchbook.typepad.com/nonsuch_book/2009/04/weekly-geeks-quoth-the-raven-nevermore.html I don't see a credit given, there, but thank the artist.|