Jun 8, 2016

Crimes Against Nature: The Raven

By Rebecca Dmytryk

Yesterday, WES received multiple reports of a crow attacking children at a park in Hollister, at the corner of Valley View and Driftwood Court. After receiving a photo of the bird, we determined it was a young raven, and that its odd behavior was probably because someone had tamed it. We said we’d have someone check it out.

This morning, we went to look for the raven. As we turned onto Driftwood Court, windows down, listening, we noticed a man with  a group of children, standing on the corner across from the park. The well-dressed man was holding a rake. A bit odd, we thought. Then we heard it - the call of a young raven. It sounded close.

I parked the truck and grabbed a container of soaked dog food to bait it in. As Duane and I started across the street to the park, a neighbor approached us. She wanted to be sure we knew the bird had just chased a teenager down the street. I explained the bird’s behavior.

The ‘attacks' were actually the bird begging for food. It had probably been dumped by the person who raised it - maybe they got tired of the responsibility. The bird had never had to look for food before, and it was only doing what it knew to do to get food - approach a human. 

The poor bird had scared a lot of residents in the area. Imagine, a big black bird with its big mouth open, screeching, chasing a person. But it was desperate - starving... all it wanted was food. But the people didn't understand.

We were directed to the center of the park where we found the young raven flicking aside leaves with its bill, looking for something edible. 

I knelt down a few yards away and tossed a couple of kibbles onto the footpath. The raven approached without hesitation. With my right hand I baited him closer with kibbles and gently but firmly took hold of his legs with my left. He didn’t fight or struggle. Obviously he’s used to being handled and held.

The raven will go to a local licensed wildlife hospital for evaluation and then be placed in a permanent facility. 

We have alerted local, state and federal agencies and intend on filing a report. Ravens, like other wild birds and mammals, are protected by state and federal laws. Possession of wildlife is prohibited without a permit.

Perhaps someone found the young bird when it was a nestling and didn’t know who to call. Maybe they thought they were doing the right thing by caring for it at its helpless age, and didn’t know they were, in fact, stealing its life.

This raven does not know its a raven, or a bird. It associates itself with humans. It will never be released to be part of the wild and free world - it will always be a captive. Very sad.

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Please, if you have any information on the history of this raven, please contact us at 866-945-3911.