Ravens are arguably the most intelligent birds, based on their omnivorous adaptability to almost any environment, their fascination with colorful toys and glittery objects, their use of natural tools, and their remarkably diverse repertoire of sounds and vocalizations. Wherever wolves hunt, ravens are present, scavenging prey, and sometimes leading upwind wolves to potential prey, or to carcasses too tough for even the ravens’ heavy, pick-like beaks to penetrate.
Ravens not only scavenge wolf kills, but steal up to one third of a carcass, by continually carrying away chunks of meat, caching and hiding them both from the wolves and their fellow ravens. A fascinating new study suggests that, since an adult wolf can, by itself, kill any prey smaller than a large moose, the real reason wolves hunt in packs, is to minimize the portion of a carcass lost to ravens! And while it may seem that wolves have the short end of this symbiotic relationship with ravens, idle wolves and ravens have been observed playing together, with ravens pulling on wolf tails, and wolf pups chasing after teasing ravens,
In several studies conducted at Yellowstone National Park, where carcasses were randomly left for ravens, it showed them to be initially cautious, waiting for conspecifics or other scavengers to approach first, but when following a wolf pack, they usually began feeding immediately after, and sometimes alongside. More information at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/article_4663.aspx
In June of 2008, Wendy received a call from a vet’s office in Plattsburgh asking her to pick up a raven that was "annonymously" left at their office. It had some minor problems, an eye and a temporary wing injury. Wendy was unavailable that day, so a friend and fellow rehabber took him home, and then transferred him to Wendy with a collection of stories of her own about this whimsical presence. Questions arose: had he been imprinted or habituated? Wendy called him Abie (AB) because she would recite the alphabet song every time she passed his enclosure, waiting for Abie to kick in, but instead he offered a few choice sounds of his own!
Our wolf hybrid Cree’s enclosure is located just across the path from Abie’s, so they immediately struck up an arrangement: Cree would howl and then Abie would vocalize calypso music, or be a whole orchestra unto himself. As Cree would welcome me with a cold wet nose, so Abie would with a nice sturdy peck, (or just restyle Wendy’s do – see photo).
Eventually, it was time for Abie to be soft- released, and we all bid him farewell, already missing his antics. As it turns out, however, he still pays us regular visits. His alarm often sounds at 6 AM, and he returns again at 4 PM to "assist" Wendy with the afternoon feedings of the educational and display raptors. Abie’s contribution is to land on top of their enclosures, and drop leaves and twigs on their heads, and sometimes on Wendy’s as well! Abie’s favorite past time is perching on the side of Cree’s pen and hanging out . He has since found a girlfriend, who is not as anxious to approach Cree, so Abie’s visits are more infrequent and distant, consisting of exchanging greetings with Cree.
We have since been given another raven, this one non-releasable, due to a more serious permanent wing injury, which leaves her only partially flighted. We refer to her as Lenore. At first, Lenore was extremely wary of all of us, and hid, not retrieving her food until we were well out of sight. One day, as I was roughhousing with Cree, I felt these beady eyes upon me and low and behold, it was Lenore, perched on the same branch Abie chose to carry on with Cree. After that time, when she appeared to build up enough trust, seeing Cree’s reaction to me, she's been feeding from our hands and on her way to being an education bird.
|Saw Whet Owl||Barn
|Broad Winged Hawk||Swainsons Hawk||Rough
Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center
Steve & Wendy Hall
PO Box 555, 977 Springfield Road, Wilmington, NY 12997
Toll Free: 855-Wolf-Man (855-965-3626)
Cell Phones: 914-715-7620 or 914-772-5983
Office Phone: 518-946-2428
Email us: info@AdirondackWildlife.org