Never A Dull Moment With Corvids

In celebration of the centennial year of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, National Geographic, BirdLife International, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the National Audubon Society teamed up to dub 2018 the “Year of the Bird.” Of course, a whole year focusing on our amazing avian fellow-Earthlings is something we can wholeheartedly get behind at Tracy Aviary here in Salt Lake City! One of the ways we’ve been celebrating is by highlighting a different bird species or family each month. November is the month of corvids, and we’re pretty excited about that in bird show, because we happen to have some of the coolest, craftiest corvids around on our bird show ambassador team. 

Ravens, crows, magpies, jays, and their relatives have long been considered some of the smartest animals on our planet. In the wild, their ingenuity is evident through their feeding skills, memorization abilities, use of tools, and group dynamics, and our bird show ambassador stars demonstrate this every day – both on and off stage.


If you’ve been to one of our shows at Tracy Aviary, you might have seen Cash, our beautiful common raven, demonstrating the caching behavior of corvids as she collects and hides nuts in a hollow log, just as her wild relatives would store and save their resources for later use. Did you know, ravens have been known to have over a hundred different hiding spots that they remember and go back to? And most of us can’t remember where we left our car keys most of the time. It would be handy to have a mind like a raven!


Or, maybe you met Curie, our adorable American crow, and saw her demonstrate how humans can also save our resources for later as she collects plastic bottles and puts them right where they should go – into the recycle bin. Did you know, in the US alone, we use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour? Recycling is definitely a way we can help protect our valuable resources, and, as we say in the show, if an American crow, like Curie, can do it – we can too!

Ziggy and Bowie

Or, maybe you had the rush of meeting Ziggy and Bowie, our smallest corvids, the black-throated magpie jays. These two rock stars are fast becoming bird show favorites as they zip, zoom, and weave through the crowds – to say they make your head spin is an understatement.

It is so much fun, and so challenging, to work with and care for corvids. They move fast and think faster. Our corvid coworkers keep us on our toes at all times – staying one-step ahead of them is not as easy as you may think. When they’re not delighting the crowds in our shows, we keep our corvids busy in other ways all day long. There is no such thing as down time for corvids, so each and every day our trainers make them multiple elaborate enrichment items. If you have toddlers at home, you know just how much work it can be keep active, learning minds stimulated, and you have an idea of what we do on a daily basis – it never ends!  

If any of this sparked your interest in corvids, or maybe they are already among your favorites, we’ve got exciting news for you. We are currently developing a Corvid Backstage Pass. We have so much fun with these enigmatic birds we want to share the fun with you! Keep your eye on our website for details of how you can have your own private experience with Cash, Curie, Ziggy, and Bowie – maybe play a game of connect-4 with Cash (we do all sorts of things to keep our corvids entertained – including board games!), help Curie do some recycling, see what it feels like to have Ziggy and Bowie fly right to your arm. There is never a dull moment when corvids are involved, so it’s sure to be a fun time for all.