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home : latest news : latest news November 25, 2015

1/9/2014 6:00:00 AM
Learn about ravens, world's most intelligent bird
Courtesy photoEmily Corey poses with Shade the raven, a highly intelligent bird who is the subject of two books by author Diane Phelps Budden: “The Un-Common Raven: One Smart Bird,” and “Shade – A Story About a Very Smart Raven.”
Courtesy photo
Emily Corey poses with Shade the raven, a highly intelligent bird who is the subject of two books by author Diane Phelps Budden: “The Un-Common Raven: One Smart Bird,” and “Shade – A Story About a Very Smart Raven.”
The Daily Courier

The public can meet Shade the Raven and hear her story at 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Highlands Center for Natural History near Prescott.

Then at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the Highlands Center will present a free movie called "Ravens - Intelligence in Flight." It explores one of the world's most intelligent birds.

On Saturday, Diane Phelps Budden will read her children's book about Shade called "Shade - A Story About a Very Smart Raven."

"Ravens are fascinating birds to watch, and display a cleverness that can be, yes, almost human," Budden said. Her book "illustrates both the special intelligence of these beautiful birds, and the heartwarming connection possible between animals and humans."

Budden's tale was inspired by the real raven, Shade, and her keeper Emily Cory, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona.

After Budden reads her book, Corey will talk about her two studies. One uses ravens for search and rescue efforts, and the other focuses on their word-learning abilities. Shade can follow commands to go into a room and retrieve certain toys.

"But it's more interesting when Shade intentionally seems to retrieve the wrong toy," Cory said.

A book signing and chance to meet Shade follows. People can take photos, too. Cost is $2 for children and $5 for adults.

Budden also wrote "The Un-Common Raven: One Smart Bird," a non-fiction title for middle-school children and adult bird lovers. Discover where ravens live, how they play, and how they bond with their raven families and with humans.

These books are for sale at the center's Nature Store, and Highlands Center members receive 10 percent off all purchases.

To learn more about ravens, go online to, or for more about Budden's books, visit

For more information, call 776-9550 or go online to The center is located at 1375 S. Walker Road next to Lynx Lake.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: mystic soul

never again be offended by somebody calling you a bird brain.

Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2014
Article comment by: J M

I know of a talking wild raven living in Highland Pines in the '70's. By the way, no bird "speaks English". Any talking bird mimics sounds. Perhaps an even better test of intelligence is the use of tools which ravens have demonstrated.
I don't know for sure that parrots are smarter than ravens as you assert.

Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2014
Article comment by: Bird Lover

Intelligence in animals is measured by problem solving yes, parrots are right up there along with ravens but parrots win by a "beak."

Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2014
Article comment by: Delmar Goodenough

With the ability to speak english, thought Parrots would be considered the world's most intelligent bird.
It's actually comforting to know that ability isn't what cable news would have me believe it is.

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