We have already talked about ravens – about their connection to Odin as God of knowledge and their cropping up in fantasy fiction (from A song of ice and fire to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) and tv series. (see the post The rook delighting heaven on this blog)
It is worth mentioning though it is no new thing, that ravens are proving to be extremely intelligent animals, capable of learning, planning and even teaching new things to other individuals. So it might be that the ancient germanic peoples who saw ravens as Odin’s birds didn’t only do so as in connection to death. It may be that they had glimpsed the intelligence that moved the black wings.