Ravens, like coyotes, are incredibly intelligent and resourceful. Reaching beyond the effective but simple cunning of hawks and other birds living around my home, ravens seem to have an intelligence beyond what we realize. Ravens are incredibly resourceful; they actually have learned how to use cars as tools, dropping walnuts in front of a moving car's tires to be opened. Countless times i have been startled by a raven flying by close in front of my car, and concerned that it might be confused or out of balance, swerved away from the flash of black feathers. Indeed this is a vast underappreciation of the ravens; they are experts at dropping the walnuts in exactly the right place and my attempts to avoid them simply denies them an open walnut shell.

Ravens are incredibly adaptable, and thrive in areas of human habitation. In fact, many people believe there are more ravens now than there ever were before Europeans came to the Americas. Ravens have been continually expanding their range, and thriving in areas where few other truly wild animals can. Sometimes it seems that they are mocking us, the way they watch us bustle about, all the while living easily in our shadows. It is easy to see why the Native Americans considered the raven a wise prankster.. Their adaptability to humans has not caused to let their guard down, however... the very act of dropping a walnut directly in front of a car's tires reveals the fact that they don't expect us to dodge to avoid them. In dropping walnuts and swerving away inches from death, and in so many other endeavors of their daily suburban lives, ravens prove that they are experts at balancing on the line between danger and prosperity.

Just because ravens aren't tame doesn't mean they are uninterested in humans, though. Many times i have looked directly into a raven's eye and seen surprising intelligence as it glanced back at me. Supposedly, some ravens have learned a few human words and shout them at various people, apparently realizing that the words get responses. When you approach a raven in an open minded, friendly way, it will probably look at you with that intelligent look, and perhaps share some knowledge with you. However, the raven will not let you get close enough to endanger it. Ravens, after all, are tricksters, and they don't expect anything else from humans, either.

Yesterday i found a cracked walnut sitting on my porch. I couldnt help but wonder if the raven left it there on purpose, although it seems more likely that the nut just rolled off of the roof where the birds were roosting. But with ravens, one never knows. I happen to believe that once the time for humans to live here has come and long passed, ravens, along with coyotes and a few other survivors, will still be stalking the shadows of our empty buildings.