For example, Common Ravens spend the majority of their days out in the wild exploring and using their innate problem-solving abilities to find food. They also spend a lot of time engaging in play behaviors. Because of this natural history, it is imperative that we provide enrichment for our resident Common Raven, Aristophanes, that allows him to explore, play, and use his intelligent and inquisitive brain.
Enrichment for Aristophanes can be as simple as hiding a portion of his diet inside a log or skull so he has to figure out how to find the food, or it can be as complex as training him to stack objects or color match items! The process of learning gives him the opportunity to problem solve and make choices, which directly impacts his mental and emotional well-being.
Each educational animal engages in enrichment and training every day (sometimes multiple times per day) to stimulate their minds, provide them opportunities to choose how they participate in their day, and allow them to demonstrate key behaviors like flying outside of their enclosures.
The mental, emotional and physical health of our educational animals is our number one priority for our educational bird program. We have asked these animals to spend their time in an unnatural way: inside enclosures, on gloves close to humans, and sometimes in front of large crowds. It is our duty as their caretakers to ensure that they are given every opportunity to choose to engage with humans, their environment, and their enrichment items in ways that provide a positive and holistic life here with us.