Wildlife Rescue helps nurture the Common Raven

Photo Credit: Paul Steeves

The Common Raven has co-existed with humans for thousands of years and has become one of the most famous and intriguing bird species in the Northern Hemisphere. Their dark silhouettes, painted against the open sky, has long been a familiar sight and one that has drawn with it a heightened level of curiosity and interest from us humans. The raven’s prominence and fame in society have been bolstered by numerous references in popular art, sport, and literature, including The Raven, a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, the Baltimore Ravens NFL Football Team, and the Three-Eyed Raven, a character from Game of Thrones. In traditional stories told by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, the raven is regarded as a magical creature, able to take the form of a human, animal or even inanimate objects. In addition, the ravens at Tower of London hold an almost mythical presence, with the rumour being that if the ravens were ever to leave, the British Empire would crumble.

Society has long been fascinated by the raven due to many reasons. Ravens are amongst the most intelligent of all birds, with some experts rating their intelligence up there with both dolphins and chimpanzees. They often hunt in pairs or groups, and have been seen using distraction tactics and imitation calls to confuse other predators and secure their meal. Ravens are extremely adaptable and are comfortable living within a wide variety of different habitats including snow, desert, mountain, and forest. These birds are highly distinctive due to their all-black plumage and arched bill, however, they can often be confused with their cousin the crow. Ravens are generally much larger than crows (up to four times heavier) and have a characteristic ‘croaking’ call as opposed to the ‘caw’ of the crow. Extremely acrobatic flyers, ravens have often been spotted doing somersaults, mid-air and flying upside for large periods of time. With all things considered, it’s no wonder why ravens are amongst the most famous birds!

WRA Rescue of a Common Raven

In May of this year, a raven was found at Don Ross Middle School in Squamish, BC, in distress and in urgent need of care. This particular raven was dehydrated, thin, and unusually quiet. It was evident that this young raven had been orphaned and was struggling to make it on its own.

Photo Credit: Paul Steeves

Wildlife Rescue Association staff quickly assessed the new patient in order to be able to provide an effective treatment program. The bird was initially unable to consume solid foods and blood work showed that it was severely emaciated. Its condition was poor, and parasites had begun to take over its system.

It was determined that the raven needed fluid therapy, which is a special tube and hand-feeding procedure. Anti-parasite medication was also administered, as well as iron supplements and multivitamins to help improve its strength. Wildlife Rescue Association staff were hand-feeding this little patient every 30 minutes whilst its bloodwork and feces were also constantly being monitored in order to assess the presence of parasites. Slowly but surely, the bloodwork began to improve (no anemia found) and the raven began to show positive signs of recovery.

Stay tuned for next week’s feature on the healing and release of the Common Raven. If you find an animal please call our helpline at 604-526-7275 or give today to help other wildlife like the Common Raven here.


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