Raven: Life And Lore Quoth The Public: The Raven

August 27, 1993

The raven, a subspecies of the crow family, is an intelligent, fearless bird whose crafty nature earned it a place in Native American mythology. Of course, it also feeds on dead fish and road kill. Either way, it seems to fit the NFL's bill as an animal that reflects the aggressive, cunning, image of the sport. Some other facts about ravens:

Size: About 2 feet in length, with a wing spread of 4 feet.

Color: Plumage, bill and feet are black; feathers have a purple luster.

Diet: Eats all kind of animals -- even swooping in on weakened ewes or lambs (or Rams?) -- as well as dead fish, mollusks, crustaceans, nuts and berries.

Range: Europe, Asia, North and Central America.

Call: A deep, harsh croak. Pet ravens can learn to speak, and their vocabulary isn't limited to "Nevermore."

Mating habits: Evidence suggests they mate for life, which can be a long time. One captive raven lived for 69 years.

Political correctness: At a time when nicknames such as Redskins and Braves are denounced as derisive of Native Americans, what better mascot than one that plays a key role in myths of Pacific Northwest Indians? In many of their legends, Raven is responsible for the origin of mankind. He is valued as a guardian spirit, especially in hunting.

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