Antique Crow and Raven Prints

I came across some beautiful Corvid Antique Prints on Amazon. I thought I would share with all of you corvid lovers in case you wanted to get them, they are reasonably priced.

antique-raven-print
Raven, Magpie, Nutcracker, Jay, Roller – 1805 SCARCE Origial Antique Print by Abraham Rees

Overall dimensions of print including blank margins: 8 x 10 1/4 inches — 1 inch = 2,54 cm — Type of paper: Heavier, wove — Publisher: Abraham Rees, Longman, Hurst, Paternoster, London, as the Acts Directs — Legend to the illustrations in the print: Fig. 1. Raven, 2. Magpie, 3. Nutcracker, 4. Jay, 5. Crested Jay, 6. Common Roller.

Grip, Charles Dickens' Raven, antique print, 1870
Grip, Charles Dickens’ Raven, antique print, 1870

 

  • Caption below print: ‘”Grip,” The Late Mr. Charles Dickens’s Raven’
  • Condition: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: Verso text quite apparent; Blemish in margin.
  • Size: 12.5 x 22.5cm, 4.75 x 8.75 inches (Medium)
  • Type & Age: Year printed 1870. Antique wood engraved print
  • Verso: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior to your purchase) or around the margin of the picture.
Both are for sale on Amazon through antique print sellers. Here are the links respectively, one and two.

Corvids: An Australian export?

I read an interesting article about corvids in Australia at The Conversation. I don’t like to re-post full articles so, I will post a snippet and a link…

Corvids feature in the cave art of early humans. Their voices and actions reportedly stimulate human language and culture. Some research suggests that when humans interact with social crows, the things they see and learn can inspire their own rapid cultural evolution. Crows also seem to do things that people do (“talk” to each other, steal and hide things, use tools, “tease” other species, play), so it’s possible we’re all learning from one another.

You can read the whole article here.

Steller’s Jay at Crater Lake in Oregon

Copyright © 2012 Corvid Corner. All rights reserved.

 

What a beautiful little bird! According to the Crater Lake Institute, four of the six birds mostly like to be seen at Crater Lake in Oregon are corvids: Ravens, Gray Jays, Stellers’ Jays, and Clark’s Nutcrackers (see yesterday’s post about this clever little corvid!)

Maybe we can nickname it Corvid Lake =).

((http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/planning-visit/faqs/birds-crater-lake.htm))

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)

Copyright © 2012 Corvid Corner. All rights reserved.

 

A member of the corvidae family, Clark’s Nutcracker is a lovely bird slightly smaller than the Spotted Nutcracker. It eats mostly seeds from the pine tree. And it has a pouch in the floor of it’s mouth in front of its tongue (a sublingual pouch — See below) which can hold up to 95 pinyon pine seeds (depending on the seed this number can vary from 50 to 150).

Sublingual pouch

 

To put this in perspective, 95 Pinyon pine seeds weigh up to 13% of the total weight of the bird!! How neat is that? They have a pouch in their mouth where they can store and carry almost 15% of their own weight! The Clark’s Nutcracker also has a “long, heavy, sharp bill… used for hacking open green, closed cones, many of which are covered with pitch. Nutcrackers can open the green cones of most of the pines. The bill is also used to thrust seeds into the substrate with strong japes of the head and neck. As their name implies, nutcrackers can open thick-hulled pine seeds by crushing them in their bills.” ((http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/asc/Balda/)) Most jays must wait for the cones to open naturally, but the Clark’s nutcracker (and the pinyon jay) are able to open the tightly closed green cones. Lucky for them, they don’t have to wait for a good seed.

In a year with a heavy cone crop a single nutcracker can cache between 22,000 and 33,000 seeds in over 7,000 individual cache sites (Vander Wall & Balda, 1977). Birds may place between one and 14 seeds per cache. Birds continue caching until the crop is depleted or snow covers the caching areas (Vander Wall & Balda, 1977). Possibly, birds curtail caching after snow remains on the ground because to cache in these conditions would reveal cache location by their foot prints left in the snow. ((Balda, Russell P. and Kamil, Alan C. Linking Life Zones, Life History Traits, Ecology, and Spatial Cognition in Four Allopatric Southwestern Seed Caching Corvids))

Copyright © 2012 Corvid Corner. All rights reserved.

 

The Clark’s Nutcracker possesses a number of abilities and physical attributes that help them thrive. They have excellent spatial memory abilities which allow these clever corvids to “learn and generalize geometric rules about the placement of landmarks.” They use the landscape and even the sun (as a compass) to help them cache seeds. Their strong beaks help them crack open seeds, hence their name. Their long, pointed wings help them for strong flight to great distances. They can cache up to 22 km (a little over 13 and a half miles!). The Clark’s Nutcracker “can carry seeds 1,900 m up the side of the Peaks.” ((Balda and Kamil)) They use ‘bill-clicking’ which is the rapid opening and closing of the mandibles, to help determine if the seed is full as well as determine the thickness of the seed coat which saves time when seeds are abundant in the spring and summer.

Copyright © 2012 Corvid Corner. All rights reserved.

 

So intelligent are they, the Clark’s Nutcracker can discern between pinyon pine seeds that have nut meet and those that are empty just by observing the color of the shell. WOW! Corvids are so intelligent!

 

Sources:

Legends of the Raven’s caw

Latin speakers interpreted the raven’s call “Cras! Cras!” to mean “Tomorrow! Tomorrow!” And this soon became the symbol of the foolish sinner who puts off conversion. While others thought it symbolized the hope of something new or a better day. Here is an example from the 15th century depiction of a crow saying “cras cras”, which is not only an onomatopoeia but also means, according to the author, in Latin: “Tomorrow… you’ll die”. Actually it can be translated by an ominous “Tomorrow, tomorrow” and again, what this meant to different people could be very different. This picture makes it a little more ominous!

 

To the North American Eskimos, the raven’s cry sounded like “Kak, kak, kak!” which means ‘a deer-skin blanket.’ According to their legends, the raven’s cries warned people not to forget their blankets when they moved.

Photo by Kotsuis Hohhug

As intelligent as these birds are, it isn’t such a stretch of the imagination that the ravens could have been trying to help the Eskimos so they could survive. If they survived, then the ravens could eat the carcasses of the animals hunted. They could live near by and thus reduce their own work hunting. Who knows?

St. Kevin and Crows

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

After learning all about Saint Benedict of Nursia and his affiliation with crows, I did some research on other saints and crows. I found St. Kevin, the Patron Saint of Crows! How cool is that? Who knew? Well, apparently some people. He was born in 498 and reportedly died 120 years later in 618. He is also the Patron Saint of Ireland, Dublin, Glendalough and crows to be exact. Saint Kevin of Glendalough. He is often depicted with crows and is said to have preferred the company of animals to humans. So strong was his preference for animals, songs with his story tell of him drowning a woman who tried to seduce him. Yet, he was said to have infinite patience and kindness? ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_of_Glendalough)) Even deemed the “gentle one”. Legend says he once allowed a crow to lay an egg in his palm and he held it safely until the egg hatched and the little bird flew away. It would seem those who thought him gentle were much more impressed by his skills with animals than his people skills.

Seamus Heaney wrote the following about St. Kevin, ((http://asinnersguidetothesaints.blogspot.com/2010/06/st-kevin-of-glendalough-498-to-june-3.html))

“And then there was St Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so

One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
and Lays in it and settles down to nest.”

Art by LINDA JAQUES

 

Sources:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/lasi/lasi03.htm

http://patriarts.com/Kevin/Kevin%20manuscript1.htm

http://asinnersguidetothesaints.blogspot.com/2010/06/st-kevin-of-glendalough-498-to-june-3.html

http://patriarts.com/Kevin/Kevin.htm

http://saintspreserved.com/Kevin/St_Kevin.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_of_Glendalough

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-kevin-of-glendalough/