Remembering Jaz

The loss of Jaz, the Center’s education American Crow, was hard on all of the Wildlife Center’s family – many staff members, students, volunteers, and supporters had formed a special relationship with Jaz over the years. Jaz was far from being the largest, rarest, or most visually-striking species on our ambassador team, but there’s no doubt there was something different and particularly captivating about her; we’re happy to share these remembrances of Jaz from some of the Wildlife Center’s staff and volunteers that knew her throughout the years:

Dr. Dave McRuer, former Veterinary Director: Jaz has been an institution at the Center for a long time and will be greatly missed by all. I think she is the most honest crow I know. If she liked you, then she put all wild inhibitions aside just to coo while getting a spa-like beak rub. If she didn't like you ... then guard your fingers and shoelaces. I was one of the lucky ones and enjoyed spending quality time with Jaz under the shade of the oaks as we both watched the world pass by. I'll think fondly of "The Old Girl" and wish her a peaceful flight on her journey. 

Lydia Price, Outreach Volunteer: One of my favorite parts of leading tour groups was getting to Jaz's enclosure and talking about Jaz and the "feathered apes".   People loved the stories about how smart crows are, their curiosity, complex problem-solving skills; and amazing abilities to communicate information.  Folks always delighted in watching Jaz dunk her mealworms, seeing her bend her head for a neck scratch, listening to her caws, and watching her play with her enrichment toys.  She has taught so many, many people about crows in her long life. I do not think I will ever pass her enclosure again without thinking of her. Thank you Jaz for sharing your amazing gifts with so many. You will be greatly missed.

Marley Crawford, Front Desk Coordinator, former Rehabilitation Extern: I think one of the best parts of being a rehab extern several months ago was getting to come up with new, creative enrichment to entertain Jaz each day. She was very expressive, and dare I say sassy, when it came to whether or not she was impressed with my creations. I will miss her fun, one-of-a-kind personality dearly.

Lacy Kegley, Vice President of Administration: Jaz was one of my early challenges back in 2009 as a rehab student. I remember the first time I went into her enclosure to pick up her previous meal and drop off her new one for the day: she stayed underfoot and pecked my tennis shoes so ferociously that my laces (and nerves) were frayed by the end of the encounter. But she quickly won me over. I’d like to think she gained a little fondness for me as we’ve cooed and clucked at each other through the last decade. Though I went through periods where I didn’t see her often, Jaz always welcomed my visits with a caw for attention followed by curious clucks, like we were just two friends catching up.

The education area will be lonelier without the big presence of that little crow. Jaz will be remembered fondly, and she will be missed greatly.

Amanda Nicholson, Director of Outreach: Jaz and I took a while to warm up to each other; honestly, when she first joined us in 2007, I was still guarding my heart after losing another crow ambassador. But during the next few years, I was happy to find Jaz and I slowly becoming friends; I was one of the lucky ones to be on the receiving end of her cute little rattle call and head-ducking behavior. But when Jaz hit her golden years and became an obviously very geriatric ambassador, she became even more endearing to me. There is something special about geriatric animals. Jaz just seemed so confident in the fact that someone would surely be by to see her and likely help her. There were times when I’d interpret her behavior as this patient expectation … which would inevitably draw me into her enclosure to go through presenting her with a variety of snack dishes to make her life that much easier. You’ll be missed, little crow.

Kayla Cline, Office Administrator: I have always had a soft spot for crows (and all corvids!), but Jaz made me fall in love with them. She was such a bright and shining ambassador for her species, always loudly “welcoming” whoever took the time to stop and speak to her (or didn’t, as she often yelled at people whether they chose to stop and see her or not). I always felt like she stood out the most for me in the Education Ambassador alley – and despite the short amount of time I have been at the Wildlife Center, her absence will be a very difficult one for me to overcome.