Posted in Nunavut

A Sad Interlude…

Poor Tulugaq 1

Apologies for the rather morbid picture in today’s post. I promise it has nothing to do with any bizarre culinary experiment, but, instead, captures something that left rather an impression on me.

For those of you who read my post ‘Tulugaq, Tulugaaq, Tulugait…’, you will know that I have something of a soft spot for the Ravens that are so ubiquitous in this corner of the world. Accordingly, the untimely death of the poor little bugger you see above not only gave me a nasty scare, it also caused me to witness something that was very curious indeed…

On Friday morning, last week, I had some brief business at the local Legal Aid office and, when returning home, I did a little shopping on the way. As I was taking my groceries from the back of my taxi, there was a sudden, very loud bang as though someone had discharged a shotgun just a few feet from my head. My first thought, in the first few seconds, was that a disgruntled drunk, or a jilted lover, had decided to express his or her feelings with a bit of gunplay and, given the fact that such things happen with alarming frequency here in the Territory, I ducked down behind the open taxi door.

As I did so, I fancied I saw something falling from the top of the utility pole across the street from my house and it then occurred to me that nobody was shooting, but, rather, an electrical  transformer had exploded. When I stood up and looked, however, nothing seemed amiss at the top of the pole. There was a faint smell of ozone hanging in the air, but there was no smoke, no dangling wires and no fractured transformer. It was only when the taxi driver emerged from the car and pointed out the forlorn heap at the bottom of the pole that we realized what had happened..

A raven, or tulugaq, if you prefer, had been harmlessly going about his bird-business, thinking about whatever is birds think about, then come into contact with something he shouldn’t have and immolated himself in spectacular, if tragic, way. It was sad, of course, and one can only hope it was an instantaneous death, but, in the aftermath, while a neighbor called the Power Company, something very interesting occurred.

Within minutes, a whole crowd of ravens, possibly 12 or 15, assembled on the roof of the apartment building across the street. They were highly animated, obviously disturbed, and, in the racket they were making, really seemed to be almost ‘discussing’ the occurrence. Three or four times, a pair of them came down from the roof and glided low over the corpse before circling back to rejoin the group again. They didn’t stay long, no more than twenty minutes or so, but it was hard to tell who to feel more sorry for; the poor little guy who had just expired or the clearly concerned friends he had left behind.

Anyway, the Power Company arrived and restored power to my house within the hour, but it was still not a very happy morning…


I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

14 thoughts on “A Sad Interlude…

  1. i have seen the same thing with cardinals. it is sad when animals come in contact with technology. we had the same thing happen last weekend but it was a squirrel who met his end and left us powerless for six hours.

  2. Sad! We had a neighbor from Malaysia who told me that Ravens and Crows are both smarter than dogs and can be trained. She actually nursed one back to health in our neighborhood after “workers” kicked their nest off of the water tower (without even batting an eye that there were babies in it….). Once she healed it, it would fly by and see her every day, even landing on her knee while she squatted and worked in her garden! In was a cool sight to see!

    I just now noticed you stopped by my blog some time ago. Sorry I missed it. I always like to say thank you and have a visit to that person’s blog if they have one. Your food looks delicious!!

    ~ April

    1. Thank you very much … I can well believe ravens can be trained. I just saw a documentary about the Tower of London which has a small flock of ‘domesticated’ ravens… one mimiced the keeper and it was hard to believe it wasn’t a human speaking!

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