Photos: Tower of London ravens adapt to a new life amid the pandemic

Ravens at the Tower of London are the most important birds in the country. One of them- Merlina, even has an instagram following of more than 120,000 followers. The coronavirus pandemic ushered in an unprecedented time for historical places world over, and the Tower of London with its ravens suffered the same fate. From being allowed to roam freely in the Tower to being caged, these ravens have had to adapt to a new life amid the pandemic. Even as the lockdown was lifted, the ravens are now visited by barely 6,000 people a week – a number that easily crossed 60,000 before the pandemic. The authorities also ensure that they are fed enough while in the cages as the reduced footfall at the Tower also means slim pickings from the rubbish bins.

Updated On Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST
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Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster Chris Skaife feeds the ravens at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. As Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, Skaife is responsible for the country’s most famous birds. According to a legend firmly rooted in Britain’s collective imagination, if all the ravens were to leave the Tower, the kingdom would collapse and the country be plunged into chaos. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster Chris Skaife feeds the ravens at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. As Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, Skaife is responsible for the country’s most famous birds. According to a legend firmly rooted in Britain’s collective imagination, if all the ravens were to leave the Tower, the kingdom would collapse and the country be plunged into chaos. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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Ravens roam in the grounds after being fed at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant that the ravens had no one to play with or rob food from. It also posed a challenge for Ravenmaster Skaife – to keep the birds from flying away in search of tasty morsels. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

Ravens roam in the grounds after being fed at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant that the ravens had no one to play with or rob food from. It also posed a challenge for Ravenmaster Skaife – to keep the birds from flying away in search of tasty morsels. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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A union flag flies atop the Victoria Tower at Britain’s Houses of Parliament in London on October 20. According to AFP, a royal decree purportedly issued in the 17th century, stated there must be six ravens on site at all times. However, the Ravenmaster keeps eight just in case. Merlina, Poppy, Erin, Jubilee, Rocky, Harris, Gripp and George currently occupy the Tower of London. (Justin Tallis / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

A union flag flies atop the Victoria Tower at Britain’s Houses of Parliament in London on October 20. According to AFP, a royal decree purportedly issued in the 17th century, stated there must be six ravens on site at all times. However, the Ravenmaster keeps eight just in case. Merlina, Poppy, Erin, Jubilee, Rocky, Harris, Gripp and George currently occupy the Tower of London. (Justin Tallis / AFP)

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A raven in a cage at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Back in March when the lockdown began, the ravens didn’t see anybody except Ravenmaster Skaife, who still came to work to look after the birds. He rotated feeding and caring duties with his three assistants. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

A raven in a cage at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Back in March when the lockdown began, the ravens didn’t see anybody except Ravenmaster Skaife, who still came to work to look after the birds. He rotated feeding and caring duties with his three assistants. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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Skaife prepares food for the ravens at the Tower of London in central London on October 12, 2020. During the lockdown, “I had to keep them occupied without the public being there, so I gave them enrichment toys that would help them enjoy their day,” Skaife told AFP. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

Skaife prepares food for the ravens at the Tower of London in central London on October 12, 2020. During the lockdown, “I had to keep them occupied without the public being there, so I gave them enrichment toys that would help them enjoy their day,” Skaife told AFP. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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Skaife poses with a raven at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. According to Skaife, the birds truly only belong in the Tower but are now kept in their cages more often to make sure they eat enough as there are slim pickings from the Tower’s rubbish bins because of the reduced footfall, he told AFP. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

Skaife poses with a raven at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. According to Skaife, the birds truly only belong in the Tower but are now kept in their cages more often to make sure they eat enough as there are slim pickings from the Tower’s rubbish bins because of the reduced footfall, he told AFP. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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A visitor waits to enter the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Some 60,000 people visited the Tower every week in October 2019, but it is now only 6,000 post lockdown, AFP reported from the data released by Historic Royal Palaces. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

A visitor waits to enter the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Some 60,000 people visited the Tower every week in October 2019, but it is now only 6,000 post lockdown, AFP reported from the data released by Historic Royal Palaces. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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Ravenmaster Skaife walks to the raven cages at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Skaife, who has looked after the ravens for the last 14 years, says that the ravens are readapting to seeing visitors again and hopes that life will be restored to normal soon. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:59 PM IST

Ravenmaster Skaife walks to the raven cages at the Tower of London in central London on October 12. Skaife, who has looked after the ravens for the last 14 years, says that the ravens are readapting to seeing visitors again and hopes that life will be restored to normal soon. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

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