Supporting the Mission of the American Eagle Federation

With the permission of the American Eagle Foundation, I created a collage of Poe the Raven, one of their residents, to help support and amplify their mission. And I'm currently giving away a glossy metal print (12" by 12") to celebrate this remarkable bird and the people who care for him. You can enter the drawing by visiting this page. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 15th.

After the drawing I will be sending out a discount code to all who registered and I'll be contributing 5% of all sales made with that code to the American Eagle Federation to continue their important work. So, enter today!

Now more about Poe! I am not quite sure why Poe, the rescued Northern Raven captured so much of my attention--but he did! Maybe it's his resilience. Maybe it's his intelligence or his confident way of navigating his environment. Or maybe, I had been thinking of my father-in-law, Wallace MacBriar, Jr or Mac as we called him. Mac is no longer with us, but he had a life-long love of birds. I always admired that about him. I don't actually know what Mac thought of ravens in particular, but I have a feeling he would have admired Poe's panache. 

A lot goes into caring for a bird like Poe, and I was curious about how it was done. Below, please find a conversation between Ashely, Poe's Avian Care Specialist at the American Eagle Federation and me about the wonderful work she does. 

Luanne: Philosophically, I think that when humans interfere with nature, that we have an obligation to mediate the harm we do. The American Eagle Foundation is doing wonderful work in that area. I am wondering if you can share your view on this situation.

Ashley: Nature is a beautiful place where wildlife is meant to live and thrive. but the wild can be as cruel as it is beautiful. Injuries, illnesses, and human interaction can sometimes lead to fatal results. At the American Eagle Foundation, our rehabilitation program provides medical care to birds of prey and gives second chances. Our number one goal is to ‘keep wild birds wild’ by returning them to their natural habitats.

Unfortunately, not all animals can return to nature from rehab programs if injuries, illnesses, or imprinting cause a ‘failure to thrive’ on their own in the wild. Poe, our Northern Raven was rescued in Sylva, North Carolina with an injury to his left wing. We are unsure how his wing was injured. He was rehabilitated at a nearby facility, but unfortunately the wing could not heal properly which left Poe with very limited flight capabilities. He is now only capable of flying a maximum distance of about ten feet and about four feet in height. These limitations mean Poe is unable to soar, travel by flight to find food, or escape a predator. In the wild, ravens can travel several miles in a single day to find food, as most birds spot their food sources from above.

Luanne: Can you tell me a bit more about Poe and how he came to be at your rehabilitation program?

Ashley: Poe arrived at the American Eagle Federation (AEF) in 2009, where he became human imprinted which has allowed him to thrive in human care. Ravens and the whole corvid family are the smartest birds known to mankind. They have intelligence to solve problems, use tools, use social interactions, remember schedules, and individual faces.

Luanne: What’s it like working with Poe?

Ashley: Working with Poe is an absolute delight. He is a ton of fun, full of energy, incredibly smart, and very funny. It can be challenging caring for Poe daily. Corvids high intelligence requires more enrichment and keeps you on your toes during training and interaction sessions. He often likes to play tricks on handlers, so he requires our staff to be experienced and alert.

Luanne: What are some of the challenges you are faced with when you work with Poe?

Ashley: My favorite challenge working with Poe is always coming up with new games, toys, and activities to keep Poe’s mind enriched and healthy. Training sessions are extremely enriching so he participates in different daily activities that also provide him with his exercise. He doesn't let his flight disability slow him down; he loves to fly and run around with us. Some of his activities/training sessions include recycling, basketball, painting, weaving, and more. Of course, his day is also full of toys, toys, and more toys! Poe may not be able to return to the wild, but he is still living his best life and now has the amazing opportunity to educate thousands of people on social media about ravens, corvids, and other birds. He helps spread education and awareness about bird conservation, and that's what being an animal ambassador is all about.

Luanne: Ashley, I’m so impressed with your dedication to Poe and your ingenuity when it comes to helping him thrive in captivity. You seem like a very special person to me. May I ask what drew you to this profession and how you feel about it?

Ashley: I love being an avian care specialist because I get to develop relationships with beautiful birds and then show them to the public to educate and share conservation messages. This job is a lot of hard work caring for birds of prey and corvids but is also very rewarding. I was first drawn to the animal care field by the 1995 re introduction of grey wolves into Yellowstone National Park. After working with Poe, I found research about the relationships between ravens and wolves which is incredibly fascinating. My favorite part of the job is creating enrichment. The fact that Poel has appreciated every toy I’ve ever made for him is what sparked our relationship. I've never had a favorite animal until I became so close with Poe. I spend a lot of time with him to build the relationship that we have. Poe holds a truly special place in my heart.

Ashley, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate all your answers to my questions. I think you’ve given the large group of “Poe People” out there a better understanding about not only what Poe needs, but why it’s so important that organizations like The American Eagle Foundation exist. Thanks for all your hard work. And thanks to all the other great people at your organization for the work they do as well. I know you house and care for many different types of birds. Maybe I’ll do some portraits of them as well. Or would that put Poe’s beak out of joint? I know he likes to be the star of the show! And we love that about him. Thanks again, Ashley!

To honor Poe, I've created a collage portrait of him. I'm currently giving away a glossy metal print, 12" by 12" to celebrate this remarkable bird. You can enter the drawing by visiting this page. Winner will be announced on Sunday, August 15th. After the drawing I will be sending out a discount code to all who registered and I'll be contributing 5% of all sales made with that code to the American Eagle Federation to continue their important work. So, enter today!

And be sure to follow Poe and Ashley's adventures on Instagram @Poe-the_raven