In Memoriam: Honey the Raven

We are heartbroken to share the recent loss of Honey, our Common Raven. Honey was under medical care due to a slow decline in her health over the past two years and, given a drastic shift in her behavior, recently moved to our medical building where she passed a few days later. 

Honey arrived at ZooAmerica in 1997 from Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, where she was being rehabilitated from an injury. During that time, she became imprinted on humans and was deemed non-releasable. Honey’s exact age is unknown, but we do know that she was at least 25.5 years old.

Ravens are always thought of as intelligent animals, and Honey was proof of that. Honey was initially housed at ZooAmerica in the habitat where the American Martens currently reside. She lived with another raven, Roscoe, who taught her to be a trickster. They would place their food along the edge of their habitat to lure the neighboring lynx closer to them. Honey and Roscoe would then perch high in the enclosure and throw mulch at the lynx. 

In 2009 Honey was transferred to ZooAmerica’s Education Department, where she educated many guests about her species. She also participated in a lot of training. Some of her training was for her physical welfare, like voluntarily going into a crate, perching on a scale, allowing us to touch her for medical exams, etc. Some of the training was for her mental welfare, like stacking rings, learning colors, completing shape sorting boxes, and painting. Honey was so smart, willing to learn, and had an amazing memory. She was also good at communicating with staff to let them know whether or not she wanted to train on any given day. Honey was always in charge. She even said, “No,” a few times when she was not interested.

Honey moved back into a public habitat in 2018 when she “retired” from being an animal ambassador. Guests loved watching our regal raven do training sessions and work through exciting enrichment and puzzle feeders. Honey loved the new view and very much enjoyed “people watching” due to her curious and inquisitive nature. Even in her old age, she continued to be a trickster by hiding training supplies around her habitat, stealing our phones from our pockets, and confusing wild birds by mimicking their calls.

Honey was incredibly intelligent and taught the staff just as much as they taught her. Her “happy flaps” and beautiful caws always put smiles on our faces. We feel extremely privileged to have been part of her life. She was the best and she will be missed immensely.