Adventures of a raven fledgling
Toward the end of May, the park rangers' office had been getting calls from hikers about a raven on the ground. Coyote Gulch is part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, east of Kanab. One of the park rangers set out to find the raven, driving first 26 miles along the road, then at the road's end, hiking another six miles farther into the canyon, where he successfully found the raven along one of the hiking trails.
Just a fledgling, the young raven spent that night at the home of Todd Moore, Best Friends wildlife technician, and the next morning, Carmen Smith, licensed wildlife rehabilitator and Wild Friends manager, took a look at him. The raven had some scrapes on his wrists and looked like he must have fallen from his nest. Sometimes raven nests are so high up that it's impossible to put young birds back into their nests if they fall out.
Omnivore raven fledgling happy to eat breakfast
He had no other injuries, so he was put out into a small aviary eight feet by 16 feet. He was so happy to be out in the open air again that he bounced around and forgot to eat any of his breakfast, so halfway through the day, he was brought back in again and put in a small enclosure three feet by three feet, where he did eat a lovely lunch. Later on, when he was a bit calmer, he was put back out into the bigger space, and all was fine from then on.
Ravens are omnivores, so he gets a varied diet. He's especially fond of cantaloupe and watermelon.
Bird taking to the air
On June 4, he was ready to go up to Wild Friends' large flight aviary. It is 110 feet long and 20 feet wide, making it the largest flight aviary in Utah for wild birds being rehabilitated. He'll be gaining flying strength, and in two weeks will be all set to go back to the wild. The experts at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have decided that he'll do best being released at Wild Friends. That way he can have a "soft" release. The aviary doors will be left open, and food will be left out for him for a few days, just in case he needs a little extra help finding enough to eat. The young raven is looking forward to being back out in the wild, flying free.
If you find a wild bird or animal that may need help, contact Wild Friends at 435-644-2001, x 4460, and ask for the contact information of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you.
Photos by Best Friends staff