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

Patricia Weber

Yellowknife, NT

The raven rescue happened several years ago, just after the Calgary Olympics. When I let my dog out, the motion light came on and a drift of snow slid off one of the spruce trees in the backyard. I stopped to shake out the doormat and realized the dog was making an odd noise so I stepped outside again. There was a raven on the sidewalk and it was coming towards us and there was something wrong with it. Now, at the moment when the dog asked to go outside, I had been typing a story about growing up in a small town and was telling about a rabies epidemic. I guess rabies was on my mind. The boy next door had come out. The shouting and commotion attracted his attention. He stuck his head in his house and said, “Uncle Bob, I think Pat needs you.” This saved the raven’s life because Bob, a wildlife biologist, was able to capture the raven – it tried to peck his eyes out – and put it in my dog crate until morning when we could examine it better, although we could see that its chest was open and steaming. Had it not been for Bob’s timely arrival, with me thinking I had to defend myself and my dog against a mad raven, the story might have a different ending. Next morning, a couple of biologists came to get the raven and find out just what happened to it. From my window, I could see Bob walking around the deck looking up at the trees. While peering up, he forgot about the nautical hawser around our deck. We were able to award him a 2, 2.5 and a 3 (I said the Olympics were on) for his manoeuvre and I went out to tell him so. We saw marks in the snow and we knew what happened. That wing tip swirl could only have been made by a snowy owl. Did you know that snowy owls pick roosting ravens out of trees at night? Neither did I, but I do suspect why ravens will surround and harass an owl that they find in the daytime. Anyhow, I guess the sudden door opening and light coming on put him off his stroke and interrupted his supper plans. After three weeks, the raven healed enough to return to his street person lifestyle, although he was recognizable for a while because of muscle damage to his wing.