Half a dozen ravens dwell in the Tower of London, and apparently there’s a darn good reason for it:

Legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress.

It was Charles II, according to the stories, who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.

This was against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained that the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower.

Mr Flamsteed, of course, was overruled.

A Raven Master is assigned to the birds; each day he feeds them “170g of raw meat a day, plus bird biscuits soaked in blood.” Tourists are advised not to offer them anything.

(Via Nancy’s Baby Names, where you’ll learn the names of the current, um, unkindness. Yes, unkindness. That’s so Raven.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 June 2012 · 10:48 am

    My surname is supposedly derived from the same root as the genus-name of ravens (Corvus), so I admit a particular fondness for both them and the crows.

    However, I think I’d rather not watch the feeding of the Tower ravens.

  2. McGehee »

    7 June 2012 · 1:19 pm

    The business about unkindness was mentioned on “Longmire,” and despite my having lived in Alaska five years I hadn’t been aware of that.

    I did know that a large gathering of crows is a murder, which in that particular moment on the show would have been more apt.

  3. fillyjonk »

    7 June 2012 · 2:31 pm

    Personally, I prefer the term “parliament of owls” when we’re talking about cool animal collective nouns…

    FWIW: Owls are nowhere near as wise as they have traditionally been portrayed as being in fables and such.

  4. CGHill »

    7 June 2012 · 2:50 pm

    Neither are parliaments, come to think of it.

  5. fillyjonk »

    7 June 2012 · 3:07 pm

    Which is why I like the idea of a group of owls being called a parliament…

  6. CGHill »

    7 June 2012 · 8:53 pm

    Appearance (if not the fact) of wisdom, plus carnivorousness. That’s a parliament, all right.

  7. Joseph Hertzlinger »

    9 June 2012 · 11:59 pm

    If they stop feeding them, will the ravens say “Nevermore”?

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