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Audubon Society of Portland Statement Regarding Aristophanes the Raven

May 25, 2018 

For a decade, Aristophanes has been an integral part of our family. He is loved by volunteers, staff, the generous donors who sponsor him, and, of course, his many visitors at the sanctuary. For those who may not know his story, Ari came to us in 2008. He was illegally taken from his nest and hand raised for 3-weeks. By the time a concerned relative brought him to our Wildlife Care Center, Ari was imprinted on humans and was unable to survive in the wild. He found a home at Portland Audubon where he and his devoted handlers educated thousands about Common Ravens, and why it’s critical that wild birds are not raised as if they are pets. 

Our goal has always been to provide our education birds the best possible home. Many of you likely know that Ravens are exceptionally smart, making captivity more difficult for them than for many other species. In addition to close relationships with their handlers, they need continuous enrichment to keep their active and curious brains engaged. And over the last few months, we have struggled with the most challenging question: Is Portland Audubon the best possible home for Aristophanes? After all, he has community here with handlers who have known him his entire life, and we provide enrichment for all our birds. However, Ari is a fully flighted bird, and it is also in his best interest - both mentally and physically - to have opportunities to fly. Although the details have not been finalized, we are looking at facilities that could provide Aristophanes with a better quality of life, including close relationships with his handlers, a larger enclosure, enrichment, and more opportunities for flight than we can provide. At a new facility, Ari would stay an education bird, continuing to teach others about Common Ravens and conservation.  

This has been a very hard decision. Our goal is to always give our education birds a home for life. However, we believe that Aristophanes’ quality of life will improve if he moves to a different facility. While we know opinions differ on what is best for Aristophanes, we also know that each and every person has his best interest at heart. This bird is loved, and has touched the hearts of thousands. Our intention is to give him the very best life possible, even if we know we will miss him terribly. And that others will too.



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