Our Projects

A Raven named Potter Gets a Pond!

It has long been known that a peaceful garden setting lends itself to healing your mental, emotional, or physical ills. Hence; the growing installations of gardens in or near health care faculties. WoodSpirit Gardens has installed a number of gardens in these situations but this spring we got an unusual request. The Audubon Center located near Sandstone, Minnesota where they rehabilitate injured raptors had a serious problem.

A raven, whose name was Potter, permanently injured by a bullet rendering him flightless, had a serious psychological problem that WoodSpirit Gardens could help cure.

You see, Ravens are very intelligent, the Einstein’s of the avian world. When Potter was rescued, his saviors did not realize he had a great need for mental stimulation.  He was initially kept in a place with little intellectual stimulation. Left to his own devices he managed to get up, despite being flightless up above the drop ceiling and systematically removed the insulation, by the beak full.  Once this was discovered he was sentenced to a small cell with nothing to do, including remodeling. Left to nothing but to his own devices, he began self destructive behavior of pulling out his own feathers from his breast.

You can imagine how bizarre a large black bird with a fish belly white, bare breast would look. But since ravens are not overly concerned about appearances, it did not consider this a big problem, however; continually ripping out his feathers is definitely a problem for any bird. Not only is his overall appearance disturbing but imagine enduring a Minnesota winter without a coat, or even a shirt. Yes, this bizarre behavior was worthy of a couch and top notch therapist.

However, qualified therapists are hard to come by so Potter was turned over to the Audubon Center for what ever help he could get there from the skilled professionals there. Even though Potter was given his own private room with a view, his self destructive behavior continued. Enter now a philanthropist, who saw the plight of Potter and recognized what the Raven really needed,  which was a stimulus filled home, as much like he would have had should he never experienced  the bullet in the wing.

That would mean: coniferous forests, rivers, lakes, and boulder strewn streams. This would be hard to replicate but if anyone could it, would be WoodSpirit Gardens .

So the Audubon Center contracted the world renowned landscape company to give Potter what he really needed, a home, not just a house. So WoodSpirit came to Potter and proceeded to install a waterfall, stream, and pond, not only for Potter but to be shared by a future resident, a crow.  This particular project was difficult for us because of the limited space we had to create a paradise for a Raven and Crow.  In spite of the spatial constraints,  we managed to move in some large boulders as well as gravel, smaller stone and logs while creating a water feature. It has been well over a month since Potter’s new home was finished. Since we cannot speak Corvidae, we do not know for sure if he loves it but he is often seen splashing in the water, picking out stones, and roosting in the Black Spruce that now also decorates his enclosure. Best of all; he no longer picks at his own feathers; which should be totally grown back by this winter.

Just think, if a Water Feature installed by WoodSpirit Gardens can do all that for a Raven, just think what it can do for you and those you love.


162 State Highway 371 NW   |   Backus, Minnesota 56435   |   218-947-3663   -   888-947-2414