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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
TV viewers to name raven
Derrick Coyle and new raven
Mr Coyle wants the new raven to have "a good Welsh name"
The baby raven rescued from an Anglesey beach to become the newest recruit to the Tower of London is to be named by Blue Peter viewers.

The bird, which was found with an injured wing in sand dunes near Aberffraw in May, was introduced to the public in London for the first time this week.

Raven Master Derrick Coyle, who travelled to Anglesey to collect the raven last month, announced that her name would be determined through a competition on the BBC children's programme.

"The competition will be on Blue Peter in August," said Mr Coyle.

"I will be setting some criteria for the children - we don't want any old name.

Tower of London
The foundations of the Tower were laid more than 900 years ago

"We need a good Welsh name to reflect the fact she comes from Anglesey."

The new bird has been in quarantine since arriving at the Tower while experts at London Zoo carried out DNA testing to determine her sex.

She joins seven other privileged ravens at the city's historic visitor attraction and boosts the number of females to three.

They other females are called Hugine and Munin and the five males are named Hardey, Thor, Odin, Gwyllum and Cedric.

Raw meat

Ravens have lived at the Tower of London since King Charles II decreed that at least six ravens should reside there at all times to protect the British Isles.

Legend has it that that the building would crumble, and a great disaster would befall the UK unless the tradition is upheld.

Mr Coyle says the birds enjoyed a very good life in his care.

"Ravens in the wild live to about 10 or 15 years," he says.

"The oldest tower raven lived to the age of 44 and the current oldest is Hardey, who is 26.

"They are caged overnight to protect them from predators like the urban fox and are fed six ounces of raw meat every day."

The new raven will be well cared for

The birds' diet consists of fresh chicken, beef or liver, a boiled egg every other day, fruit and the odd rabbit - complete with fur - "for roughage" according to Mr Coyle.

They are also partial to bird formula biscuits soaked in blood.

The Aberffraw raven with its injured wing is an ideal candidate for the group as it cannot fly very well.

TV aerials

The birds' wings are clipped regularly to unbalance them so that they do not stray too far away.

However, the new bird in town will have to behave unless it wants to go the same way as one of its Welsh predecessors.

George was found in Penrhos on Anglesey and came to the Tower in 1975.

But he had to leave in disgrace for "unsatisfactory conduct" in 1986 after he "developed an unhealthy taste in TV aerials."

"He was very naughty and was sent away to the Welsh Mountain Zoo," says Mr Coyle.

Injured raven enjoys tower life
01 Jun 03  |  North West Wales
Raven marks 21 years at Tower
26 Sep 02  |  England
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27 Mar 03  |  England


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