The newest residents at the Tower of London are about 11 inches tall, loud, and they feast on rats for at least 3 meals a day: they’re four healthy raven chicks, the first born to breeding pair Huginn and Muninn. They’re also the first chicks born at the Tower since 1989.
Fun fact: There has been an unkindness of ravens at the Tower of London for centuries because, according to legend, both the Tower and the kingdom will fall without them in residence. No one knows exactly how or when the legend began, but Charles II decreed that there must always be 6 ravens in residence and since that time, there has been.
The Tower of London has a ravenmaster, and the current one is Yeoman Warnder Chris Skaife – he was as surprised as anyone to find the ravens expecting before spring.
“My suspicions were first piqued that we might have a chance of baby chicks when the parents built a huge nest suddenly overnight and then almost immediately the female bird started to sit on it.”
A few weeks later the birds were bringing food back to the nest, and Skaife managed to get his first peek at the four healthy babes.
“Having worked with the ravens here at the Tower for the last 13 years and getting to know each of them, I feel like a proud father!”
It is exciting to see, and even though they weren’t exactly adorable at birth, they’ve already grown into lovely little birds. They eat quail, rats, and mice, all provided by the Ravenmaster to the male bird, who passes the food to the female, who hands it over to the littles.
They plan to keep at least one of the chicks in the Tower once they’re flighted and capable of living on their own, and, since the birds were hatched on St. George’s Day, the one that stays will be called George or Georgina, according to a press release.
The last raven born at the Tower, Ronald Raven, was born on May 1, 1989.