Creative raven produces stunning range of experimental paintings – using her beak
A creative raven has the art world in a flap after producing a stunning range of experimental paintings - with her beak. Eleven-year-old Odin uses an array of vivid animal-safe paints and food colourings to make her amazing abstract works, which are flying off the shelves for up to £15. Keepers at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife Conservation Park in Sheffield, South Yorks., said they first gave the captive bird an easel around eight years ago. And after introducing her to different tools over the course of a year, she was then able to use a brush to create her incredible works. Keeper Milly Fox, 25, said the “charismatic” bird loved giving the canvas “a good splatter” and had an “aggressive” approach to producing her unique paintings. She said: “Odin very much just gives the canvas a good whack with the paintbrush. She likes a good splatter. "Very occasionally, she’ll just run the brush down the canvass. But she’s quite aggressive. “She’s definitely one of the most intelligent animals that we’ve got in the park. “She’s smarter than us a lot of the time with the way she thinks about things and solves the enrichment puzzles we set her.” Odin, who was born in captivity at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife Conservation Park, was introduced to the creative process by her keepers from the age of three. And it didn’t take long for her to put brush to canvas and start producing incredible works of art. Milly said: “It took her less than a year because she’s really, really smart. But it would have been a slow process to begin with. “As far as I know, with them picking up and painting with the brush, she’s the only bird that’s been able to do that. “We do a few little things where the lemmas run across a canvas and the macaws have done a few, but not to the level of skill that Odin does. “Also, she does it on purpose, rather than us encouraging her to walk across the canvas.” Milly said Odin’s most prolific period was before the covid pandemic when she had completed several works that were snapped up by the general public. But she said the avant-garde Raven, who once shared an enclosure with a vulture, was also a talented mimic who could reproduce the sounds of kids’ screams. Milly said: “She has got a very big personality. She’s a really charismatic bird. She copies noises that she hears. Her favourite one is the sound of screaming children. “Her highest turnover period was a few years ago. But with covid and bird flu, she does fewer these days. We still do a few with her. It keeps her mind going. “At the moment she is on her own, but in the past, she lived with a white-backed vulture. He’s since moved on to different collections. She lives by herself.” Milly said Odin’s intelligence had shone through in the enrichment puzzles that her keepers had set her - and said many people were shocked by her abilities. She went on: “If we give her something where she has to move little sliders to get the mealworms out, she’ll put it in her water bowl so they’ll all float to the top. “People are often very surprised by her work. "When we explain that she picks up the brush and gets out the paint and throws it against the canvas, they’re normally quite impressed.” Studies have shown that ravens, which are part of the Corvidae family, have cognitive skills rivalling the great apes at full maturity. And other studies suggest that they may have similar problem-solving capabilities to that of a child under seven years old. The sales from Odin’s works are donated to conservation fundraising projects.