A Manitoba wildlife centre has an unusual bird on its hands – a talking crow named Jet.
The crow came to Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre in Ile Des Chenes, Man., as an injured fledgling about four years ago.
Staff determined he couldn't be released due to a damaged wing, which hadn't healed right.
They started spending more time with him, to socialize him in the hopes he could be one of their ambassador animals.
Those animals are used in education in the community, travelling to places such as schools and seniors homes. But while working to see if they might be able to crate train him, something amazing happened: Jet started to talk.
Shauna Hewson co-ordinates educational programs for the centre. She said last winter, a volunteer was alone with Jet in the barn when she heard someone say, "Who's outside?"
The volunteer was amazed to realize it was Jet, mimicking a phrase the volunteer often used.
Hewson said Jet can also say "hello" and he laughs.
Since learning of his talent, Hewson has contacted bird experts to learn more about how to train him. He’s given different food treats, but the truth is he gets tired of the snacks -- and craves the social contact with his favourite people, Hewson said.
Hewson thinks Jet speaks in a high, female voice because his favourite people are his female volunteers.
After looking further into the personality of crows, centre staff decided against training him to travel in a crate.
Despite their sociability, crows survive in the wild based on being fearful and that instinct is ingrained. She doesn't believe Jet would like to travel around to community events.
So, what’s next for the chatty bird? The plan is for people to come visit Jet at the new Wildlife Haven Hospital and Education Centre, which is currently in the fundraising phase.
"He will be our greeter," she said. "We believe he will change the face of our wildlife education centre."