My title sounds a bit ominous, like Edgar Allen Poe’s doleful visitor tapping on a window, but have no fear. In my world, when the raven knocks, you should always answer!
As winter drags on down here in the city, only letterbox shaped views of the mountains are available most days, peeking out between the gunmetal clouds.
Those glimpses do serve to remind me that the mountains and the ravens are out there — and that I might get up to see them once a week or so. Many people head south for this gloomy part of the winter, but I’m always drawn to the snow rather than the sand.
Often we get up on the mountain and there’s only a matching letterbox view back out at the city through the same clouds …
… but every time it’s wonderful in some different way.
To hear a raven calling in the snow-hushed forest — that knock, knock, knock call, something between a tapping on hollow bamboo and water dropping into a still pool — that sound alone is worth getting out of bed early and stepping into long johns and winter woollies.
You can see the raven’s chilly morning breath in this video and, if you listen closely, hear a stream merrily running in the background.
We met this suave raven below in the forest on our last trip. I like to think I “called” him or her. I have been practicing my raven calling, with mixed results. Usually they ignore me, but occasionally they do a U-turn in mid-flight, possibly to come see if something down below is dying and available for lunch.
Head thrown back for best possible vocal projection.
Nictitating membrane of the eye deployed, giving the impression that our performer is blocking out all distraction in order to produce the purest sound.
Throat expanded, presumably to make a hollow space from which to draw that echoing call. Magnificent feathery “cravat” sticking out in all directions.
Wings held out to the side and tail spread out — that horizontal line behind the raven is the tail, held out like a fan.
The virtuoso performance …
For more posts on the wonder of raven calls:
You might also enjoy: Edgar Allen Poe and the Raven Mix-up