An unkindness of ravens in Juneau, Alaska, USA
© Brian Browitt Photo/Adobe Stoc
An unkindness of ravens. Ravens
This group of ravens perched on a leafless tree is an appropriately spooky image for this time of year. In folklore, these intelligent birds have long been considered symbols of all manner of unpleasantness. In Chinese mythology, they were blamed for bad weather, while the Celts associated them with warfare. In some Native American traditions, ravens are often represented as tricksters, while many European cultures associate them with evil spirits. In English, a gathering of ravens like this is called an 'unkindness'.
But the truth about these birds is that they are sociable creatures, who are very good to each other. They usually forage for food in pairs and love to play. Ravens also mate for life and are devoted parents who both help raise their fledglings. These super-smart birds even console each other and recognise other friendly birds, as well as human faces.
So, while they may look menacing, you'll probably get along with them just fine if you treat them with respect. If not, well, these birds have been known to hold a grudge. After all, another term for a group of ravens is a ‘conspiracy’, so let's try to stay on their good side.