by Bryce W. Robinson
Often I find myself frustrated with the sight of the Common Raven. Searching for raptors becomes a game of disregarding Ravens from afar to avoid spending needless energy focusing on a bird that is not only common, but prevalent. Birders understand the lack luster feeling of seeing common birds. Although common and at times a nuisance for the birder, the Common Raven is remarkable and deserves respect and admiration as one of the most intelligent creatures of the wild.
Corvids are cunning, to say the least. Particular species have been documented using tools, and it is easy to see their wit when you meet a Corvid in the wild. The way the birds caw and crow makes you wonder whether their communication system is at a level equal to our own. Only a few species of birds have been symbolized and present throughout the cultures of humanities history, and the Raven is among these.
When friends discover my ability to paint and illustrate, I often offer them their choice of bird for a painting. Many times I am asked to paint the Raven. People still hold this creature as a symbol of the intelligence and cunningness of the wild. For those that love the desert landscapes of the southwest, the bird also captures the spirit of the place. I will always love the opportunity to paint Corvus corax, and I am sure that from now until my end, I will create the Raven on canvas time and time again.
My first Raven is in portrait style, much like my other birds. I painted it with a dark background in hopes of capturing the personality and depth of one of the avian worlds most intelligent creatures. Mischievous, playful, even mournful are documented behaviors of the Raven. What a wonder we so often overlook. Sincerely watch the Raven, and your mood may soon shift from disregard towards an appreciation for a very common, but truly amazing bird.