Area Man Trains Birds For
Walthers, a veteran animal trainer who lives in Commerce, was hired
to train two ravens as mascots for the Baltimore Ravens football team's
2008 season. He's hoping the NFL spotlight will build the public's
appreciation for the birds, which almost disappeared from the eastern
United States at the turn of the 20th century, but have made a huge
Article by Merritt Melancon
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Everything you should know....
White necked (also known as White-naped) raven is the largest and
the most impressive of the seven species of East African corvids.
At 20 inches tall with a 3 foot wingspan, the white-necked raven is
a large bird. In their native region of Africa (eastern edge of the
continent from South Africa to Zaire), they are often mistaken for
Like ravens worldwide, they are famous for their intelligence and
frequently found playing the role of "trickster" in native
They often show a playful side and can frequently be spotted indulging
in aerial acrobatics. Where they are found around human habitation
they are frequently quite tame. All Ravens are intelligent, inquisitive,
generally friendly birds. Ravens can easily be taught human speech
and can learn how to count.
The only species that bears any resemblance to the White-necked Raven
is the Pied Crow which is smaller and has a white breast. However the
simple rule "if you have to ask, it's not a raven" applies.
Once you have seen this impressive bird you're unlikely to ever confuse
The entire body portraits deep blue-purple iridescence to their feathers
with a very distinct large white patch at the back of its neck and
an ivory tip on its dark bill.
Ravens are omnivorous. They will eat anything which is edible (and
many things which aren't). Their usual diet contains insects, seeds,
berries, carrion (the bodies of animals killed by creatures other than
the raven), the eggs and young of other birds, and occasionally small
Raven are very active birds. They love to hop, fly, and peck at items.
Those who own this type of bird should provide a minimum of 4 to 6
hours of playtime outdoors daily. The flight cage should be large enough
for them to fly, stretch and exercise their muscles. The outdoors is
also very important for them to receive the necessary vitamin D from
the sun for the well-being and strength/density of their bones.
Always remember to remove the anklets or leg restraints while your
bird is in the flight cage, as they can get caught up on objects and
could injure themselves. Vet wrap can be used on the perches to ensure
the perches are easy on their feet, varying sized perches are always
a good idea too.
Toys and enrichment items are important for stimulation. As we mentioned,
they are the smartest birds in the world and need mental & physical
stimulation to remain happy and healthy pets.
White Necked Ravens as Pets:
The Ravens are the most intelligent birds on the planet!! They are
very inquizitive and have a great willingness to learn. They learn
quickly and can also become great talkers. Due to their intelligence,
they often form very strong bonds with their family (the owners). I
consider them a wonderful pet, however they are not for everyone. They
are quite large in size - intimidating to most, and require adequate
space in which to live, play and excercise in order to thrive. Another
large consideration is their diet & droppings! They can be expensive
to feed and quite messy. Care must be taken to properly socialize these
birds at a very young age. If not, they can become only a 1 or 2 person
bird. One must provide them with a considerable amount of mental stimulation.
When a White Necked Raven is kept in a healthy and wholesome environment,
they are normally a joy to be around. Those looking to add a Raven
to their family should do plenty of research to ensure they can provide
the kind of home that will condusive to a healthy & successful
family experience. Doing so will help ensure that both bird and family
will enjoy many happy years together.
If you think a White-Necked African Raven might be the right bird
for you, contact Daniel Walthers at Winding
Woods Ranch to see if you can schedule a visit with him and
his birds. Seeing how White-Necked African Raven behave in their home
environment will help you decide whether or not this species is a good
choice for your lifestyle.