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corvids

She Wanted Her Wings

We really can’t do better than the publisher’s notes at describing Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger. So here they are: “Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.  So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.” According to Amazon, this hardcover illustrated novel will be coming to bookshelves and the Internet from Abrams ComicArts this May.


image c. 2013 Abrams ComicArts

Corvids reveal highly-developed communication abilities

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When people think of the most intelligent animals other than humans, the first contenders are the dolphins and great apes. A less-obvious one may be birds of the family Corvidae, containing both crows and ravens. This was suggested when researchers at Oxford found crows are able to make specific tools, a feat never before seen in other animals.

More recently, ravens have been shown to direct other individuals' attention through gestural communication; the first time this has been seen outside of the primates. In primates, such gestures are rarely seen in the wild. Why wild ravens show this behaviour more commonly is unknown, but it is thought by some to be the foundation of language.