(CNN) — Merlina, a 14-year-old raven and one of the Tower of London’s permanent residents, has gone missing and is feared dead.
Merlina.Credit: Historic Royal Palaces
A spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces told CNN on Thursday that Merlina had flown off two weeks ago and not returned, which “indicates to us that she may have, sadly, passed away.”
Ravens have been a mainstay for centuries at the Tower of London, England’s most famous execution site.
In the 1600s, Charles II decreed that six of the birds must live at the tower at all times, otherwise the tower and the kingdom would fall. The tower will now be left with seven of the intelligent birds — Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and George — as spares are kept on hand.
The spokewoman told CNN that Merlina was a “unique” bird who had a “close bond” with Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife, whose job it is to look after the birds.
The raven would play tricks with him, the spokewoman said, and would always return to her nest at the tower at night after roaming freely.
The spokeswoman said they believed she had most likely died as it was out of character for her not to have returned.
Merlina was also a markedly independent bird, having only paired off with a male last year, the spokeswoman added.
“Since joining us in 2007, Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, Queen of the Tower Ravens. She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the Ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community,” the spokeswoman added in a statement.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment