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Animals

Birdwatch: the raven, humankind, and my meeting of equals

We have a deep connection with this bird, and it is finally shaking off its reputation as a symbol of darkness

Of all the world’s birds, the raven has the deepest connection with humankind. It was the first bird mentioned in the Bible, sent out by Noah to search for land. Ravens are central to Norse and Native American mythologies, as symbols of wisdom as well as agents of prophecy. And they feature prominently in literary works from Chaucer, via Edgar Allen Poe, to Game of Thrones.

Whenever I see a raven flying above my Somerset home, uttering that deep, guttural call, I feel the weight of that long connection between bird and human. But I also feel a sense of hope; for in recent times, the raven has finally begun to shake off its reputation as a symbol of darkness.

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