(too-loo-gak): Inuktitut (the language of Inuit) word meaning raven

Jessie Fleming

Iqaluit, NU

I am a former resident of Iqaluit, having lived there for nine years. I truly loved every minute of it, leaving only because of my health. I lived on the sixth floor of the eight-story high rise so I had many opportunities to see the mischievous raven. You are familiar with the whip antennas on top of the Brown Building. They are used by the emergency response teams and for the most, part just hang around. On Sunday mornings, I would take my dogs for our usual stroll around the buildings, the school, around the little creek, and then I would lean against the metal barrier around the parking lot, or sit on the concrete cover of the utilidor while the dogs rambled around. Invariably, a small flock of ravens would be swooping and diving around the buildings. As time went on, I began to notice that not all the birds were exactly proficient at some of the landings. I guessed that perhaps some of them were young ones just learning how to fly and land. What was so funny about the whole show was this: an adult would soar over the building and then swoop down to grab the antenna. It would hold on to the top as it swayed, then come to a fairly steady stand. They would hold the position for a couple of seconds, open their wings and drop away from the building. This would go on amongst the adults for a bit, then the littler guys would give it a try. They would fly around and around until they were close enough to grab the antenna. It would wave to and fro and the little thing would hold on for dear life, wings just flapping. The whole flock would take turns and I swear I could hear the moms shouting encouragements to their young. I felt at times that they were putting on this show just for me. It was wonderful.