Yellowstone Raven

12″ x 24″

Oil on Wood

A couple weeks ago, I spend about a half hour with this raven in Yellowstone National Park. @StephanieArne and I sat on the ground, me with the camera and her with her bird-whispering techniques, and eventually we befriended this bird. One of the most intelligent animals on the planet, corvids like the raven are capable of imitative learning. This type of learning is no simple task, Henry Gee of Nature Magazine puts it this way, “considered to be the most demanding category of social learning, because it requires the learner to translate what it sees (sensory input) into its own actions (motor output).” What’s more interesting is HOW. Birds lack something humans have: a cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the largest region of the mammalian brain and plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, cognition, awareness, thought, language. For the most part, this is still a mystery. Most would expect no less from the mysterious bird in black.