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With Super Bowl win, a push begins to make the raven Maryland’s state bird

Fans of Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens celebrate their victory before a stadium rally in Baltimore on Tuesday. (Photo by Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Still on a high from Sunday’s Super Bowl, some Baltimore-area lawmakers have introduced legislation to make the raven an official state bird.

Maryland has about two dozen other state symbols, and those already include one state bird: the Baltimore oriole, which happens to be the namesake of a certain baseball team.

But in the wake of the Ravens’ defeat of the San Francisco 49ers, supporters argue that it is time to share the honor.

“There’s so much that divides us in this state, and this is certainly one thing that can unite us,” said Sen. Bobby A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), who introduced the bird bill in the Senate on Thursday. “It makes eminent sense.”

Identical legislation has been introduced in the House of Delegates with 21 co-sponsors.

The raven is the second proposed addition to the roster of state symbols to have gained attention this year. Another group of lawmakers is pushing to designate the soft-shell crab sandwich as Maryland’s official state sandwich.

Like many other states, Maryland has long had the likes of a state tree (the white oak), a state fish (the striped bass) and a state flower (the black-eyed Susan).

The Baltimore oriole’s distinction as the state bird dates to 1947. There have been previous efforts to enshrine the raven as well, but they have been stopped short of the goal line.

Among those: a bill introduced in 2001 after the Ravens last won the Super Bowl.

“We don’t need another bird,” then-delegate John S. Arnick (D-Baltimore County) said at the time, according to a press report that noted that ravens are actually relatively rare in Maryland. “No one knows it exists.”

Perhaps this could be the year that changes.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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