Whenever Chadwick Everett goes to work at the Lac La Hache Transfer Station, Buddy the Raven is waiting to welcome him.
Just by calling his name, Everett, 48, will summon Buddy from the trees to his side as he goes about his job keeping the trash and recycling clean and orderly. Over the past two months, the two have become fast friends, much to Everett’s delight.
“He plays with my fingers with his beak, he sits right next to me and I can almost pet him and I’m trying to get him to perch on my arm,” Everett said. “Customers, when they see him, are kind of amazed that he’s right next to me. He’s just my friend at work.”
Their relationship started after Everett witnessed two local ravens attacking a third raven who had been stuck in a garbage can after injuring its wing. A few days after that incident – which that bird unfortunately did not survive – he began to notice the pair harassing Buddy, forcing him to drop his food or stealing it from his claws.
Everett said he suspects Buddy was either the chick or the mate to the deceased raven and had been left to fend for himself. Moved by compassion, the transfer station attendant decided to take the bird under his wing.
At first he’d leave food out for the raven to keep him fed. As time went on and Buddy became familiar with him, he began to train him to respond to his name to lure him to shelter to keep him out of the cold. He even keeps a spare cushion in one of the sheds for the raven to sit on when it gets cold.
“When you give him some food he’ll walk somewhere and stick the food under a pylon and buries it in the snow, hiding it. It’s pretty cute,” Everett said. “It makes me feel good because he has some food in his stomach and I know he’s going to survive the winter.”
This isn’t the first time Everett, originally from Campbell River, has made himself an animal friend. At times, he can be lonely and he’s taken to befriending animals in between helping customers.
Prior to Buddy, he used to feed a squirrel that would climb all over him and jump in his van whenever he arrived at the transfer station. The other furry friend was a feral cat he named Freya that he later adopted as a house pet after rescuing her with the help of a customer.
“She’s four months old now but when I found her she was only two months old. I found her meowing under the share shed and over the next month, customers would keep seeing her around the station,” Everett said. “Finally one of my customers caught it before I took her off her hands and got her all her shots.”
While he’s training Buddy, Everett intends to keep him mostly wild. His greatest goal is to one day be able to train Buddy to fly to him on command and land on his arm like a falcon. With a laugh, Everett admits that he never intended to become an animal rescuer.
“I sometimes go ‘oh my god’ I have a squirrel, a raven and a feral cat!” Everett said. “It just kind of happened but if I see an animal in need I’ll absolutely help it.”