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View count:295
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Duration:05:58
Uploaded:2020-12-10
Last sync:2020-12-10 22:15
Taylor trains Luka the newest raven, but things don't go as planned and she has to adapt to the situation.

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Hey everyone!

Welcome back to Animal Wonders! My name is Taylor and this is Luka the raven.

Over the last year, I've spent a lot of time getting to know him and training him, but our training was unexpectedly interrupted by the pandemic. We only recently started training again, and even though it's been a long, hard, journey, we're making a lot of progress! So today I want to share our training story with you and how we are working to overcome that setback. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC].

A year ago, we took in Luka, a young juvenile raven that had a broken wing. Since he was a juvenile, at first he was pretty pushy and noisy. Luka was constantly bugging and chasing after Rook, so we decided to house him separately for a little while so he didn’t cause too much stress for Rook.

But, while he was housed separately, I began working on building a trust bond with him. Even though Luka was a juvenile, he was still a wild animal so his parents and family had probably already taught him to be wary of humans. So to help him learn that humans weren't scary and might even be friendly, .

I began offering him treats through the bars of his enclosure. I offered him the tastiest treats and to make myself less threatening, . I would face away from him and hold the treat as far away from me as possible.

Over the next several weeks, Luka began to trust me more and more. He began to take food from my fingers through the bars and even from the palm of my hand inside his enclosure. After that we made great progress!

I could offer him food from my palm, I could look at him, and I could even stand closer to him. As we were making progress though, Jessi and I decided that we wanted to offer Luka a bigger enclosure. Ravens are incredibly smart animals and his old temporary enclosure was no longer adequate for his maturing mind and body.

So we gave him a new, bigger, enclosure. The new enclosure was much bigger, and it had a lot of branches that he could explore, he could sit in the sunlight, and he could look out at the forest and watch everything happening around him. It took Luka a little time to get settled in and comfortable, but I think he loved his new space!

After that Luka and I continued training and building our bond. He was a little nervous on the branches so I sat in the corner and offered him treats on the ground. He hopped down right away and started eating all the treats.

Luka and I had just starting working on target training, when suddenly, everything came to a stop. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Animal Wonders closed to all outside staff and employees. So in order to keep myself, Jessi and her family, and the animals safe, I began working from home.

Eventually we created new protocols to keep the animals and humans safe, but by the time I got back out to Animal Wonders, 3 months had passed. And my progress with Luka was gone. Although this was a huge set back for me and Luka, this was a great time to reintroduce Luka and Rook.

They began living together and getting along much better now that Luka was a little more mature. Then I once again began building my trust bond with Luka. Right away, I noticed he was more nervous than before.

He didn't want to come close to me any more so I couldn't hand him food from my hand, and if I tried to toss him a treat, the arm movement was too big and instead of looking for the treat, he just got scared. So I took a step back and rethought my plan. The first thing I needed him to realize was Taylor equals good things, like treats.

But the problem was how to get the treats to him. So once again, I sat down on the ground and tossed out treats and he hopped down to get them! Now that he was getting the rewards, I was able to introduce a clicker.

There are a lot of different ways to interact with an animal, but ravens are very smart and opinionated and training is an excellent way to communicate with animals. It also tends to help strengthen your bond with them, so that’s where I started. As I was trying to get him to come closer to me, I noticed that he would always go and stand on a rock.

So I decided to teach him to go to a “station”, and step on a wood block. It took a long time for him to trust the block and even get close to it but eventually he touched it with his foot. And I clicked and he got a treat.

It took a couple more accidental touches before I saw him realize what he was getting rewarded for. After some work, I was able to get him to put both feet on the block and complete the station behavior. Now he will happily and confidently race over to the block and step up for treats.

Next I decided to train him to target, and tap his beak to a wood circle. The first thing he did was try to step on it like he does for his station! It was adorable and he was trying so hard!

Eventually he figured out what I was asking him to do and now he’ll touch beak to the wood circle. I also began working on getting him comfortable in a crate and wearing jesses. The jesses attach to his anklets and help keep him secure during a public presentation.

Over the last few months he’s become comfortable in the crate and with the jesses on. Now my next goal is to have him step up onto my gloved hand. Also, I’m excited to share that Luka has become comfortable enough to come take food from my hand!

He’s also slowly getting comfortable with me moving around and talking while I interact with him. So our trust bond is definitely growing! I’m hoping that eventually he'll feel comfortable standing on my hand and going out to schools so he can become an ambassador for his species.

But we still have a long way to go. And that’s okay. We will continue to move at his pace.

Luka is still loud and pushy, but he’s also a goofball. And I love working with him. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come despite such a difficult setback!

I can’t wait to keep working with him, building our bond, and learning together. Thank you so much for watching! If you’d like to continue to go on adventures with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel, .

Animal Wonders Montana, and we’ll see you next time! Thanks! [BOLD OUTRO MUSIC].