By Andrea Romano
May 24, 2019
© Historic Royal Palaces

London has welcomed some new arrivals this spring. And this time, we're not talking about Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

According to the Smithsonian, the Tower of London welcomed four baby chicks into its aviary on April 23. This is the first time the tower has hatched new chicks in 30 years, it announced in a statement.

According to legend, Charles II insisted that the Tower have seven ravens (six ravens, plus one to ensure the population, apparently), or else the city would suffer a calamity. He predicted that if the ravens ever left the tower, it would “fall.” Ever since Charles II’s reign, there has been a Tower Ravenmaster, which sounds a little bit like a job in Game of Thrones.

But it is definitely a real, important job. The current Tower Ravenmater, Chris Skaife, explains in a video on Twitter, “We decided that it would be a really good idea to see if we could actually breed ravens ourselves at the Tower of London to secure our future.” Seems reasonable, given the apocalyptic prediction.

The four new chicks were bred from two new ravens, Muninn and Huginn, or mom and dad, respectively, according to Lonely Planet. At first, according to the Smithsonian, it was unclear whether the breeding would be successful since the two adult ravens only just arrived at the tower, but clearly, nature took its course.

Skaife said in a statement that he noticed the birds bringing food to a nest on April 23, but wasn’t able to approach and get a look at the hatched chicks until a few weeks later.

According to the Smithsonian, the chicks eat about every two hours, feasting on “quail, mice, and rats” that are caught by Skaife and taken to the nest by the raven Huginn. Each chick measured to be about eight centimeters (about three inches) at birth, but are now about 30 centimeters (nearly 12 inches). They’re also starting to develop their black feathers.

Only one of the chicks will be staying at the Tower of London once they’ve all matured. Depending on which one gets to stay, it will be named George or Georgina, in honor of its birthday on April 23, also known as St. George’s Day. The other three, according to Metro, will be sent to a breeding specialist in Somerset.

In addition to Muninn and Huggin, and eventually little George or Georgina, the other ravens at the Tower of London include females Erin, Poppy, and Merlina, and males Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, and Rocky, according to Lonely Planet.

Advertisement