Join us in welcoming to the Ravens...two juvenile ravens. That's right. As much as we love Poe, we now have two members of the Ravens family who actual belong to the species. (They technically belong to the Corvidae family, but only you ornithologists out there and at the Zoo probably care about that.)
The two brother birds were hatched on April 16, 2009 and have been raised and trained by staff at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Rise and Conquer will live at the Animal Embassy, a division of the Zoo's Animal Department, which houses and travels over 65 Animal Ambassadors. The birds will be among a group which travels to support Maryland Zoo promotional and educational missions. This includes local and national media appearances, as well as school visits. They will also make regular appearances on Zoo grounds to visit with Ravens fans throughout the year.
The birds arrived at The Maryland Zoo together during June of 2009. They were raised at home by members of the Maryland Zoo staff for several weeks so that the birds could be hand fed every few hours, and begin their training by the core handling staff. Because they can easily become bonded to one person at such a young age, we were careful to keep rotating their housing schedule. We needed them to recognize and relate to several handlers and easily accept changes in their environments. Once they were moved to the Animal Embassy they began a training program and acclimation process common for our ambassadors. Because they are such intelligent birds by nature, we are constantly challenged to keep them engaged and enriched. They are a great addition to the Animal Ambassador Program and we are very excited about the possibilities with this species.
Rise is the more cautious of the two brothers. He will usually only go up to a new object or food item once Conquer has checked it out. Conquer is a bolder bird, but also more interested in his handlers. He is always the first one to come for food.
Born on: April 16, 2009
Description: Rise and Conquer are hybrids of the brown-necked raven from North Africa (Corvus ruficollis) and the pied crow (Corvus albus) from Southern Africa. Pied crows are very closely related to common ravens.
Ancestors' Origin: East Africa
Appearance: Similar to the Common Raven; black shiny feathers with an almost oily appearance.
Current Weight: 700 grams (1.5 lbs)
Quick Facts: Extremely intelligent and inquisitive. Very interested in touching and tearing objects with their strong, sharp beaks. They are able to notice the smallest of changes in their environments, which is why we are constantly moving them around so that they can easily acclimate to change. Corvids have the ability to mimic sound and have been taught to speak, though they do not have the range of parrots.
Our ravens are from Africa because the ownership of North American native ravens is prohibited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ravens are some of the most intelligent birds in the world, and thought by some to be on par with Apes.
Ravens have the ability to differentiate between individuals.
Ravens cache (hide) their food and come back for it later. Even though they have a steady supply of food at The Maryland Zoo, they still exhibit this behavior. They are scavengers by nature and hiding food ensures they will not go hungry.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore's Animal Embassy is one of the largest traveling animal collections in the country. With 70 diverse animal ambassadors, the Zoo has been able to connect with audiences of all ages. Programming includes off-grounds Zoomobile Outreach Education Programs, on-grounds school classes and meet and greets, fundraising and PR /Media appearances, and other promotional events and opportunities. The Animal Embassy has a strong history in avian care and training with raptors, parrots, toucans, African crowned cranes, kookaburras, owls and penguins.
The Embassy has three full-time staff members and four part-time animal technicians, who are supplemented by 30 volunteers and an additional 45 highly trained volunteer Animal Handlers who ensure that every animal gets an abundance of attention and exercise. The Animal Embassy is actually located on the first floor of the Zoo's Veterinary Hospital and they have constant free contact with medical staff and the animal nutritionist. Rise and Conquer will be handled by the most experienced of the staff and over time, the most skilled volunteers who have undergone special training specifically geared toward the birds.