It is with deep sadness that we share the loss of a beloved Animal Ambassador at Wildlife Images. Onyx the raven was a friend to so many of you. Onyx was moved to temporary housing during recent work on the trees at Wildlife Images. Unfortunately, a staff member discovered during morning rounds that he had passed away due to unknown causes. His quirky personality made him a favorite among volunteers, staff and guests. As a member of the corvid family this special bird certainly remembered his regular visitors and if you were lucky he would offer a token of friendship. Perhaps the greatest gift Onyx ever shared was teaching us to reflect on the intelligence and personalities of the common ravens that we share our world with.
I’m completely heartbroken over the loss of Onyx. I miss the days he would take the bowls when I was cleaning Eagle Flight and throw them around, banging on them demanding attention and snacks. He would eat out of my hand, always careful not to bite me. Also, one particular day (10/5/18—I will never forget) he was flinging through rocks and I just stood and watched. Then he finally came to me and offered me his “perfect” rock. It was heart shaped. I’ll never forget the special friendship we had. – Joslyn, Volunteer
He and I were buddies. I would visit him every time I was working . He would usually come over to see me when I called him and we would share sticks. He was so smart and I enjoyed his company. One time while visiting him my name tag fell into the enclosure and he immediately took it and flew back to put it with the rest of his cache in the rocks. He always made me laugh and I will always remember him fondly forever. – Carolyn, Volunteer
Onyx came to Wildlife Images for rehabilitation in the summer of 2008, the same year he was hatched. Onyx was brought in by a member of the public because he was unable to fly well. Upon his exam on intake, we discovered that he has a fracture on his wing that prevents him from ever being able to fly well enough to be released. Onyx was common raven and a member of the the highly intelligent corvid family.
Lifespan: 15 years in the wild / 30 years in human care
Wingspan: 3 ft Weight: 1-1.5 lbs
Range: Widely distributed along the western U.S. and Canada; not prevalent through the Great Basin or East Coast
Habitat: From coniferous forests to deserts to coastlines
Diet: Generalist omnivores: fruits, vegetation, small mammals, reptiles, eggs, insects, carrion
Ravens, along with other members of the corvid family, are well-known for their intelligence. Ravens have a wide range of vocalizations and can mimic sounds from their environment, including human speech. Ravens are acrobatic fliers, known for making rolls and somersaults in the air; they also often appear to play with objects while flying, dropping and catching them mid-air. Although they aren’t as social as crows, ravens are still frequently found in pairs or small groups. They often work cooperatively to solve problems but will go to great lengths to cache food away from the prying eyes of other ravens, even returning later to move their food if another raven watches them stash it. They can be distinguished from crows in flight by their tail shape; ravens have a v-shaped tail, while crows’ tails appear straight across or slightly rounded. Ravens are also roughly double the size of crows. Once driven from much of their range, these remarkably adaptable birds are making a comeback, with stable or increasing populations in many areas.