Folklore and magic of crows and ravens

Both crows and ravens have appeared in a number of different mythologies throughout the ages. In some cases, these black-feathered birds are considered an omen of bad tidings, but in others, they may represent a message from the Divine. But, above all, they have long been synonym of doom and devastation as they destroy crops, devour corpses, act as emissaries for soothsayers and gods, and are closely linked to human fortunes. But not only, as they have long plagued farmers and gardeners by devouring their freshly planted seeds. An old…

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Rathlin West Lighthouse: a beloved upside-down beacon off the coast of Northern Ireland

A trip to picturesque Rathlin, the only developed island off the coast of Northern Ireland, offers several things including wildlife, a medieval history and more. Three lighthouses guide boats along Rathlin, and the seafaring excitement begins as soon as you leave the shores of Ballycastle. The island is home also of one of the largest seabird colonies in the UK. Every year over 250,000 seabirds such as guillemots (which only come on land to nest and can dive to a depth of 180 metres underwater), razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars (a grey…

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Jacu Bird Coffee: from bird poop to a one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee varieties

Jacu Bird Coffee is one of the world’s rarest (and most expensive) coffee varieties. It is made from coffee cherries ingested, digested and excreted by Jacu birds. At around 50 hectares, the Camocim Estate is one of the smallest coffee plantations in Brazil, but it still manages to rake it quite a nice profit thanks to a very unique type of coffee. It all started in the early 2000s, when Henrique Sloper de Araújo found that his precious plantations had been overrun by Jacu birds, an endangered, pheasant-like bird species,…

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Kauai, the Hawaiian Island home to thousands of feral chicken

The island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to thousands of feral chicken that have developed a real relationship with the island’s human inhabitants. From the pristine beaches of Lumbahai, to airports, gas stations, even urban parking lots, they are everywhere on the Island. They roam freely, and have adapted to lead a a variety of lifestyles in their Hawaiian paradise, from eating garbage and cat food, to depending on tourists for food, or foraging on native arthropods. It’s because of this lifestyle variety that the chickens relationship…

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8# The legend of Christmas Robin

The little red-breasted, cheerful robins, often called also the Christmas robins, indicate the season of sun and spring. This rather ordinary bird holds such tremendous importance to Christmas that probably everybody know its legend. Robins are known in fact for having shared the holy stable of Bethlehem, with Jesus’ family, when the other animals chose not to respond to Mary’s constant appeals. Now these colorful birds are regarded as the traditional symbol of UK and can often be found on greeting cards and gift wrappers. They also use robin decorations…

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Chichen Itza Chirp: clapping at base of an ancient pyramid echoes the call of a sacred bird

Chichen Itza, a pre-Colombian archaeological site built by the Mayans in northern Yucatan, Mexico, is home to many architectural and cultural wonders, and one of this has baffled acoustics experts for decades. The Temple of Kukulkan is one of the most visually-striking structures at Chichen Itza, but perhaps its most intriguing characteristic is acoustic. The reason? Clapping at the base of the Mayan pyramid causes an echo that resembles a bird’s chirp. Do it repeatedly, or in a group, and the echos will sound like a chorus of ghostly chirps…

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Why in Havana a nude woman with a fork mount a rooster?

We are in Havana, Cuba, and there’s a mysterious brass statue in Plaza Vieja: A woman sits atop her big, feathery mount, her voluptuous form completely naked except for the stilettos on her feet. A massive forks rests on her right shoulder. And the rooster, ever so stoic, gazes ahead. No one knows the meaning behind the unusual sculpture. Its name is “Viaje Fantástico”, so perhaps the woman heading off on an adventure to some sort of nudist dinner party? Or, as some online theories speculate, could it have a…

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29/30/31 January: the Merla days (hen blackbird), according to tradition are the coldest days of the year ~

It was a very, very cold Winter. That year the month of January put every effort to live up to his reputation as a freezing, windy month. The snow was high, and a layer of ice covered fountains, streams and ponds. Even the fire lit in every small and big house in the countryside, did not seem warm enough, in the bedrooms and in the attic, sometimes in the morning it was discovered that the chill night had even turned into ice the water in buckets and basins. People walked…

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Tanzania: the lake Natron and the petrified animals

Don’t let the ring of salty marshes along the edge of Lake Natron fool you: this body of water is one of the most inhospitable areas on Earth! We are in Monduli, Tanzania. Even if the salty red hell is a beautiful sight for eyes, unfortunately conceals a terrible secret. Colored a deep red from salt-loving organisms and algae, the lake reaches hellish temperatures and is nearly as lethal as ammonia. We known that most human settlements throughout history have formed around lakes and rivers, however, the barren and inhospital…

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