Ravens of the Tower of London

Ingrid and I are in Europe on a non-birding vacation (gasp).   Our first stop was the Tower of London . . . old fortresses, the crown jewels and . . . RAVENS!!!!

At least 6 Ravens (currently 9, including a non-captive breeding pair) live on the grounds of the Tower of London . . . as they have since 1883.  It is said, “If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.”    While this seems as believable as a J.R.R. Tolkien adventure, the people of England take it very seriously.  During the World War II Battle of Britain, all but one Raven was killed.  Churchill ordered more Ravens to be brought to “the Tower”.

There is a full-time Ravenmaster onsite to take care of the birds, including feeding and clipping their flight feathers . . . limiting the bird’s ability to fly away.  Note, Ingrid and I observed two Ravens effortlessly flying around the grounds, perhaps the non-captive breeding pair we were told about?

Ravens and crows are known for their intelligence . . . and the Tower Ravens are no exception.  One particular bird can say a few words and wished Vladimir Putin a “Good Morning” during his 2003 visit.

Another bird will lie on her back, feet in the air, and play dead in order to upset her caretakers.

Can’t wait to see what bird might catch our eye tomorrow at Buckingham Palace.

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