A couple of commentaries mention that scholars dispute that Elijah was fed by ravens and instead think the word in 1 Kings 17:4-6 ought to be translated black arabs or perhaps "Orbites, i.e., inhabitants of Orbo." I'm also told though:
In support of the received rendering is the very powerful consideration, that it is the interpretation of all the versions (except the Arabic) and of Josephus, who, beyond all question, represented the belief current in his own time (Ant. viii. 13. 2).
1 Kings. 1909 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.). The Pulpit Commentary (382). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
Is there any merit to translating this as something other than ravens? Or is it simply an attempt to accommodate the story to something consider more historically plausible (i.e. non-miraculous)? Or perhaps an incredulity that someone so zealous as Elijah would eat what unclean birds brought him?