Monday, September 17, 2012


It is with a sad heart that we must inform staff, volunteers and visitors that Cherry, our seventeen year-old Pied Crow, passed away this season from the infirmities of old age after a very long and healthy lifetime

Cherry was the first Pied Crow I worked with at the Sanctuary, and at first I didn’t like the experience.  She was clever and quick and it was always a challenge to keep one step ahead of her.   She could always manage to stash her food in places that you could not find, and if she did not want you in her space, she would poke with her beak until you left.  All and all, not a bird I was expecting to like or come to enjoy working with at all.

Early in her life she had to have 2 of her left foot toes amputated because of a strange fungal growth, but the loss never slowed her down.  As far as we trainers were concerned, the “special foot” gave her even more character.

Even though Cherry was not the most social of our corvids (a general name for crows and their kin), those she did welcome into her “flock” loved and cherished her.  She made affectionate calls to her “flock” in the morning, she built state of the art sisal and stick nests for us and presented us with bountiful gifts of tasty treats.

Over time her inquisitive and mischievous nature won me over.  She was very curious and loved digging for insects in her outdoor enclosures.  She was the best crow by which to gage the training skills of new interns or volunteers because Cherry loved to try to turn the tides and train her new handlers.  She was very good at tricking newbies into doing most of her behavior for her, usually by dropping whatever object she was supposed to be transporting at the time.

An expert recycler and excitable donations collector, Cherry seemed to have a fantastic work ethic, striving to overcome all obstacles.

She wormed her way into my heart and she will be missed dearly.  Thank you Cherry for being the best trainer of people I have ever known, and teaching me to never judge a bird based on the first impression.

Submitted by Leah Tyndall, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer

1 comment:

Leah Sainz said...

Cherry taught me so much during my time with her. She really was a very special bird. She had a strong and wonderful personality. And Leah's right: Cherry was smart as a whip and managed to trick me more often that I would like to admit.