Holiday Guide

Bird Is the Word in Bristol

Raven encounters at the Audubon Society's Environmental Education Center make Thanksgiving weekend about more than just turkey


Ravens have a bad reputation. Throughout the world, they’ve long been associated with unfortunate omens and mythic links to death, but a new member of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Avian Ambassador program is changing that perception by using his inquisitive nature to woo visitors. Meet Zachariah, the curiously playful raven that has joined ten other rescued birds in inspiring the public to protect our state’s wildlife.

“The best way to educate people about birds is to introduce them, whether that be in the field, in their backyards at their feeders or with our Avian Ambassadors,” says Audubon RI’s Director of Education Lauren Parmelee. “It’s nice that we have some so they can learn more about wildlife in Rhode Island, up close, without us taking anything out of the wild.”
Ambassadors cannot return to the wild due to unique injuries, so the organization provides them with aviaries mimicking their natural habitats and diets, training with experienced handlers and new purpose by aiding Audubon Educators in inspiring others to connect with nature.

Visitors will get to meet Zachariah at the Environmental Education Center in Bristol where Audubon will host its Day After Thanksgiving event, after many of us have given thanks and feasted around – and on – another bird. While Lauren attributes the scheduling to convenience for families in search of fun activities, she adds, “Maybe we won’t talk about turkeys that day.”