Joanna's Reviews > Ravens in Winter

Ravens in Winter by Bernd Heinrich
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Jan 06, 08

bookshelves: nature
Read in December, 2007

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time. I actually started to read it a couple of years ago but got distracted, put it down and never picked it back up. Roll forward to the day I'm running out to the door to the train (on my way to a less than loved job) and saw this book on the shelf. So I grabbed it and am very, very happy I did so because it is one of the best--fiction or non-fiction-- I've read in quite awhile.

Written by a biologist in the 80's it is an interesting study of ravens in the wild--their intricate social networking, their hunting habits, their amazing calls, their notorious skittishness. But it's not just about ravens, it's about trudging through waist high snow in the Maine forests in -10 degree weather, heading for a blind in which the author sits for hours contemplating all those things that run through your head while sitting for hours at a time. Most of the chapters open with lines from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven that set up what's to come in the following pages. With the exception of the first chapter (which the author gamely says to skip if you don't want to be enveloped by a whole lots of science) the book is written in an easy, conversational voice. I did read the first chapter and yes it was kind of boring and you could definitely skip it. But in the spirit of trudging through waist high snow I plowed forward.

I never imagined how complex the social world of ravens is, their intelligence and ability to communicate with one another is startling. And I learned some other cool things about different bird species and just what tree to bark up if you're interested in getting 200 pounds of meat.

If you are like me, so often stuck in the city, and have any interest in all about being out in the woods trying to figure out just what the hell is happening all around you, Raven in Winter is a choice place to start.
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message 1: by John (new)

John looks good!


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