Ravens are remarkable creatures, renowned for their intelligence, and a familiar sight in some of our oldest stories – from travelling with Norse god Odin, to featuring in Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous poem . Even more revered, however, is the white raven – a bird rarely seen outside of myths and legends. Which made it even more incredible when Canadian phtographer Mike Yip shared photographs of a family of the unusual birds living near his home in British Columbia.
An avid bird photographer since 2004, Yip quickly gained a reputation as a local authority on wildlife, and so was one of the first to know when locals in Vancouver Island first sighted the rare birds. Disbelieving, he was amazed upon arriving in their territory to find a colony of the white ravens going about their daily lives. Initially shy, they warmed up to him over time, and after a few visits, he was able to take some truly memorable shots.
Ravens are famous puzzle solvers, adept at using tools and even able to recognise faces and mimic human speech according to some studies. They’re also very adaptable, and can be found all over the world – from North African deserts, to Tibetan mountains, and have made their way into folk stories on almost every continent.
Stories of the white raven are rarer, but always show the bird as a magical or even godlike creature – in one story, helping to bring fire to humans, before being charred by the flames and remaining black thereafter.
It’s thought that the family Yip photographed has their usual color due to a genetic disorder called leucism – a very unusual condition that nonetheless may have been the origin of early stories of the bird. Drawing attention from wildlife enthusiasts worldwide, the family continue to flourish – with Yip a regular visitor.