Long recognized as one of the most intelligent birds, the raven also has a less than savory image throughout history as
a scavenger that does not discriminate between humans and animals.
Ingenious and versatile, ravens are members of
the crow family, which includes jays and magpies. They are found everywhere in the northern hemisphere and adapt to very different
terrain, from deserts to mountains -- a feat requiring high intelligence.
They learn to find food even in the harshest
conditions, such as the dead of winter in Yellowstone National Park. As scavengers, ravens know how and when to take advantage
of other animals to help them cadge a meal they couldn't otherwise reach. In Yellowstone, bison that don't survive the harsh
winter attract coyotes, whose sharp teeth and strong jaws rip open the tough, frozen hides -- making the meat accessible to
watchful ravens. They also have been seen following wild wolf packs to a kill; some stories even have ravens flying ahead
of the wolves to lead them to prey.