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Is Ray Lewis A Classic Raven?

Ray Lewis is the perfect Raven. So says Kevin Omland, a professor of biology at UMBC who’s spent his career studying the feathered version. Lewis is a classic: Smart – How else did he get to be one of the most successful linebackers of all time? Loyal – He started his career with Baltimore in 1996, and he’ll end it there this year. Tough – He’s leading the Ravens through the playoffs, wearing a bulky brace for a triceps tear that’s still healing.

Wait a minute, you say, what football player isn’t tough?  Fair enough. But part of what makes ravens stand out – their recipe for success, if you will – is a rare combination of traits perfect for just about anywhere in the world, including some field in Massachusetts. According to Dr. Omland, ravens are …

SMART: Ravens are among the smartest of birds. They can figure out complicated problems using insight, rather than just solving things by trial and error.

ADAPTABLE: Ravens are found over much of the world, from the mountains of western Maryland to Mexico, from Arizona to Alaska, from China to the Czech Republic.

LOYAL: Ravens mate for life. The pair works together year round to defend a territory, forage for food, find a nest site and raise young.

BIG: Ravens are the largest songbird species in the world. They are roughly twice the size of the American Crows common around Baltimore.

TOUGH: Ravens are the only birds that spend the whole winter in the high arctic, following wolves and polar bears to feed on their prey. Foxborough is a tropical paradise by comparison.

READY TO WIN: Oh, yeah, sorry.  We were talking about the birds.

(1/15/13)