Raven chicks hatch at the Tower of London after 30-year gap
We’re saved! Raven chicks hatch at the Tower of London for the first time in 30 years, ensuring the legend that the castle will crumble and Britain fall if they leave will NOT be fulfilled
- Four raven chicks were hatched to parents Huginn and Munnin on April 23
- Legend insists if the Tower of London’s ravens ever depart it will fall down
- Ravenmaster at the Tower Yeoman Chris Skaife said he was ‘absolutely thrilled’
- He said he noticed on April 23 that the parents had four healthy chicks in a nest
The joy was evident on the Queen’s face when she met her newest great-grandchild for the first time last week.
But if tradition is to be believed, she may have felt just as delighted with four other arrivals a fortnight earlier.
Amid considerably less fanfare than Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s birth, raven chicks hatched at the Tower of London for the first time in 30 years.
Raven Master at the Tower of London Chris Skaife with one of the new chicks
The bird’s beak will not turn black for at least a year according to Yeoman Skaife
He said he only noticed the new arrivals when their parents built a large nest
The new generation of birds ensures a legend that claims the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall if they leave will not be fulfilled – at least for now.
The chicks were born to parents Huginn and Muninn on St George’s Day, April 23 – 13 days before Archie became the seventh in line to the throne.
Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, the Ravenmaster at the Tower, described himself as ‘absolutely thrilled’.
He added: ‘It was quite unexpected. My suspicions were piqued when the parents built a huge nest overnight and almost immediately the female started to sit on it.
‘Then on April 23 I noticed the birds going to the nest with food. However, it has only been this week that I’ve been able to get up close and see for myself that they have four healthy chicks as I hadn’t wanted to disturb them.’
The four chicks are the first ravens to be born at the Tower of London in 30 years
The pair, who are both 13, arrived at the Tower last year.
They have been feeding their brood every two hours. Dad Huginn collects a diet of quail, mice and rats provided by the Ravenmaster, and hands it over to mum Muninn in the nest. The chicks have quadrupled in size from 3in tall when they hatched to 12in.
- A group of ravens is called a treachery or a conspiracy.
- They are seen as a bad omen thanks to their colour, eerie caw and diet of carrion.
- Ravens are among the most intelligent birds and can recognise different people, make group decisions and mimic human voices.
- In Norse legend, ravens Huginn and Muninn provided information to the god Odin.
Their iridescent black plumage is starting to come through, although their pink beaks will not turn black for about a year. Huginn and Muninn were provided by a breeder to join seven other ravens already at the tower, including Harris, Gripp, Jubilee, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Merlina.
One of the chicks will be kept and named George or Georgina in honour of the saints day they were born on. The others will go to specialist breeders. The year when ravens began their association with the Tower is long forgotten, but their presence is protected by the legend that binds them to the kingdom’s wellbeing. Charles II decreed there must always be at least six to avoid disaster.
They are pampered and live for decades, compared with up to 15 years in the wild.
The Ravenmaster feeds them raw meat and eggs, as well as the occasional rabbit.
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