Raven Flight Risk: Beefeaters Clip Wings to Safeguard Tower of London Tradition –
The Tower of London, with its rich history spanning a millennium, faces an unusual threat as mischievous ravens challenge the authority of the Ravenmaster.
In a bid to prevent potential flight risks and uphold a legendary superstition, Beefeaters have resorted to clipping the wings of two errant ravens, Jubilee and Branwen.
The Tower’s Raven Tradition:
The Tower of London’s folklore dictates that if its guardian ravens were to ever leave, calamity would befall the monarchy and the kingdom. In adherence to this belief, six ravens, including a spare, are kept on-site.
Ravenmaster Chris Skaife typically clips one wing to limit their flight range and protect them from London traffic.
Flight Defiance and Safety Measures:
The recent measure to clip both wings of Jubilee and Branwen aims to counteract their defiance of commands, particularly after being confined indoors due to last year’s bird flu outbreak.
Concerns about their safety and the iconic tradition prompted this temporary solution, preventing the birds from reaching inaccessible areas like the top of the White Tower.
Historical Raven Escapades:
The Tower’s ravens have a history of flights beyond its confines. Notable incidents include Muninn’s five-mile journey to Greenwich in 2011 and Grog’s escape in 1981, last seen near an East End pub.
Notably, ravens can face dismissal; George was relieved of duty in 1986 for destructive behavior.
Raven Lifestyle and Special Treats:
The Tower’s ravens, known for their longevity, usually enjoy a diet of mice, chicks, and rats. As a special treat, they receive biscuits soaked in blood.
During Christmas, the ravens were treated to pieces of meat from the Tower’s kitchens alongside the Beefeaters’ lunch preparation.
Training Efforts and Welfare Commitment:
Reports from 2019 indicated attempts to train the ravens, aiming to eliminate the practice of wing clipping in the future.
Chief Yeoman Warder Rob Fuller emphasized the Tower community’s commitment to the ravens’ welfare, highlighting their responsibility for the birds, many of which were bred and raised at the Tower.
The ongoing saga of Tower ravens and their unique role in London’s history showcases the delicate balance between tradition, superstition, and the evolving efforts to ensure the well-being of these iconic birds.
The practice of wing clipping, a temporary solution, reflects the Tower’s dedication to preserving its cultural heritage.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn