crooked beak of heaven


Today we drove through Manning Park towards the south Okanagan where we’re going to spend a few days with our friend Liz, exploring, visiting favourite wineries, the wonderful Dominion Astrophysical Observatory at White Lake, and eating Doukhobor food in Grand Forks. We stopped for a picnic on the Similkameen River and who should saunter over to visit but this raven.

P1100214Look closely at his beak:

P1100210It’s deformed, isn’t it? It didn’t stop him from begging salmon paté and bits of olive bread. And although I don’t know much about the condition, I have found a site which explains the background and possible causes, as well as genetic influences:

Anyway, it was so interesting to be so close to a raven — crows are often this sociable but ravens are more aloof, stand-offish. And what a life — living on the riverbank, cadging treats from those eating picnic food, the smell of spruce heady in the air, and snow still on the ground. I was reminded of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) Crooked Beak of Heaven masks I’ve seen all my life and until now didn’t know had a very grounded source of influence.


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