By: Pat Coate
As mentioned last week, there was a group of about 20 ravens hanging out near where I stayed in Ontario. It was amazing to watch this group soar and play. I really think that J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for the game of Quidditch from watching ravens. Quidditch is an aggressive, somewhat contact sport played by teams of wizards/witches flying on brooms in Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter series. The teams represent the four houses of Hogwarts, a school for wizards and witches. Furthering my suspicion that Ms. Rowling drew her inspiration from ravens, I note that one of the four houses is named Ravenclaw.
Quidditch is played with a Quaffle, or enchanted ball, that is used to score points by shooting it through a hoop. In the raven version of quidditch, it seems that a pine cone or twig serves as the Quaffle.
By: Pat Coate
While in Canada last month I had several very fun encounters with a group of ravens. They hung out in the vicinity of the cottage where I was staying and seemed keenly aware of the comings and goings in the area. As I would head out for a walk with our dog, they would immediately make a noisy appearance. Then they would provide several minutes of entertainment, as they seemed to be just having a ball as they soared above us. They would chase each other, surf the wind currents, and ride a current seemingly to its peak like a cresting wave. The silhouette photos below capture some of their hijinks. My favorite is the second to last where I was able to catch a bit of their stunt pilot show, where they would actually do flips and briefly fly upside down.
Near the end of my visit, I heard a dog barking. Since the nearest neighbor is a couple miles away I went outside to investigate. Turns out it was one of these characters doing a very passable imitation. I had no idea ravens could be so boisterous and downright entertaining. Some internet research seems to indicate that this was a group of youngsters and the behavior I observed is not uncommon. Here’s hoping for an encore performance next year!