The Amazing Exploits of Freeway the Crow by Sophie Fink

January 6, 2016 Leave your thoughts

{This is a first of three posts written by Harbor City International High School students participating in an Internship Week at Great Lakes Aquarium.  Sophomores Sophie Fink and Alexis Walker and Senior Brooklyn Frear are interning in the Aquarium’s Communications Department. They are sharing stories of animal encounters, learning experiences and opportunities they’ve had seeing our animal ambassadors in action.}

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Found on a highway, illegally adopted by a well-intentioned family, and now upstaging toddlers, Freeway the crow has certainly had an exciting life. He came to the Aquarium about nine years ago on a whirlwind of friendly feathers, and has been delighting staff and visitors alike ever since. Freeway’s daily routine can include anything from answering mail to solving mind boggling contraptions of wonder and frustration — a.k.a. those shapes-in-the-box toys you give to puzzle little children.

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This exceptional bird has not always found these tasks easy to do however. It took months of training with his caretaker, Heidi, to obtain the skills he now so proudly displays. Take, for example, the shape toy. Freeway begin by receiving a treat every time he put an object into a large bucket. As his learning progressed, the bucket grew smaller and smaller. Soon a lid with a hole cut into it was added. Once this basis of movement had been established, it was time for the big finale. Freeway was given the shape toy into which he learned to place each shape into the correct hole — all for a reward of course.

Today I got the chance to see Freeway in action. He began with his shapes in the bucket accomplishment.

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This was followed by a performance where he moved rings from poles to a bucket.

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Then he received mail from eager children.

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For his last act, Freeway opened a door to a clear box in order to reach his final treat — eggs!

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