Ravens in Norse Mythology

Ravens have often been featured in myths and legends, stories, poems, and religious beliefs. For example, the Norse God Odin was said to have a pair of ravens, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). They were said to travel the world from early morning to late into the evening each and every day in search of information and news from every corner of this planet to bring back to Odin. Upon their return every evening they would whisper what they learned into his ear as they perched upon his shoulder.

It is the story of Huginn and Muninn from which Odin’s nickname, the raven-god was born.

In Grímnismál the ravens are mentioned:

The whole world wide, every day,
fly Huginn and Muninn;
I worry lest Huginn should fall in flight,
yet more I fear for Muninn.

Another translation reads,

Every morning the two ravens Huginn and Muninn, are loosed and fly over Midgard; I always fear that Thought may not wing his way home, but my fear for Memory is greater. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugin_and_Munin))

Caching Corvids

Did you know that the corvid-family of birds cache food for later — saving it in multiple spots for many months? They also watch other birds cache food and steal it–moving it for themselves. They are sneaky. They pay attention. This is interesting. There brain size to body ratio is relative to primates. They are social. We really enjoy watching them interact, eat and check things out.

Crows in a tree...
Crows in a tree...

Their ability to remember for long periods of time is fascinating. Some corvids have been observed recovering food caches up to 250 days after hiding them. Studies suggest this is due to their ability to use spatial memory ability. What is located next to what — such as many children do. ((http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/asc/Balda/Default.htm#IV._Cache_Recovery_Tests_of_Spatial_Memory_)) “By the McDonalds over by my school mommy.” This is simply astonishing to me that corvids have such an excellent memory.

Maybe their abilities to cache food and to forward-think help them to survive when other birds are not doing so well. ((http://www.audubon.org/news/CBID_NYTimes.html))