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The retired life

Up until a few years ago, if you came to Zoo Atlanta, you might have met a clever crow named Onyx. Onyx is a 17-year-old African pied crow. He has lived at Zoo Atlanta since 2000, and was once a common sight in our bird presentations. He could do a variety of things – recycle bottles and cans, paint a picture (abstract art, of course), and even steal a dollar bill from a lucky (or unlucky?) audience member. It’s okay, he always brought the dollar back. To end his part of the presentation, a care team member would bring out his kennel, and Onyx would readily put himself in it – and shut his own door!

Onyx is a retiree now, having not appeared in presentations since 2015, but we wanted to make sure he still had a great and enriching social life in addition to his regular interactions with us. Within a few months of his retirement, Onyx met his new friend – a female crow named McFemale. For the record, she came to Zoo Atlanta with that name! We weren’t sure what he would think about having a new crow buddy, as he’d spent nearly all his life with humans. While she was ready to make friends, it took him a little bit of time to warm up to her. After that, they’ve been inseparable. They hang out next to each other all the time, and the braver Onyx is often spotted bringing the tastiest bits of food to his special girl.

If you were a fan of Onyx and have missed seeing him, I have some good news for you! Earlier this year, an extra habitat was created behind Sequoyah the bald eagle that allows some of the World of Wild Theater birds to come see our guests outside of Theater presentations. A few months ago, a shift area was created that allows Onyx and McFemale to share that opportunity. As we switch between the crows and three other birds, we can’t say for sure when these crows will be out, but if you’re at the Zoo, swing by Sequoyah and see who’s there behind him! It’s a little hard to tell Onyx from McFemale, but if you hear a crow saying “Hi!” or “On it!” (Onyx’s version of his name), that’s our very special retiree!
Lyndsay Newton
Lead Keeper, Ambassador Animals

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