Inquisitive Common Raven Released back to the wild!

Posted October 21, 2019 by Vindi Sekhon

Photo Credit: Paul Steeves

Last week, we shared how Wildlife Rescue assessed this injured and orphaned Common Raven when it first arrived at Wildlife Rescue hospital. Follow the first part of his journey here. As the young raven began to show positive signs of recovery, staff at Wildlife Rescue Association ramped up its treatment program in order to help prepare it for release back into the wild.

The first task, a crucial one, was to teach the bird how to self-feed. Following weeks of hand-feeding, Wildlife Rescue Association staff started hiding the raven’s food in order to stimulate its mind and help train it to become ‘self-sufficient’ by searching for and locating its own food source. The smart bird, among the most intelligent of all bird species, reacted favorably to this treatment and its weight started to improve considerably.

In instances where young, orphaned birds have been rescued and are being cared for by humans, it is very important that the necessary steps are taken to ensure the bird does not imprint inappropriately on humans. Imprinting is a critical form of learning whereby a young animal will develop a concept of its own identity. As they do not know which species they are when they hatch, birds will imprint on what they are exposed to during their early development (ideally their parents). If this young, orphaned raven were to imprint on humans, it would be very difficult to release back into the wild as it would irreversibly identify as human for the rest of its life. As such, the Wildlife Rescue Association staff had to be very diligent throughout the treatment process to prevent this from happening. Staff used mirrors and music for self-actualization and to familiarize the raven to its own kind. Imprinting gear, to disguise human features, was also used to prevent the raven from imprinting on humans.

With the bird now feeding on its own, and familiar with its own kind, it gradually began to re-learn how to fly. The process, although a slow one, showed signs of improvement and stronger flaps eventually became more and more evident. The bird began perching well and was alert and curious about its surroundings.

Considering the amazing steps this young raven has taken towards its recovery, and the incredibly dedicated treatment and care received from the Wildlife Rescue Association staff, it was only a matter of time until it was ready to rejoin the open skies and be free!

If you are interested in learning more about Wildlife Rescue, or how you can help provide care to injured and orphaned wildlife please contact our helpline at 604-526-7275 or you can give today, and ensure wildlife like the Common Raven have another chance in the wild.

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