Keepers at Birdland are making use of treat-filled pumpkins to provide environmental enrichment as part of their ‘Shriek Week’ Halloween half term event (Saturday 22nd – Sunday 30th October).
Visitors can watch a selection of the Bourton-on-the-Water’s smartest birds demonstrate their foraging skills in a series of daily talks.
Keepers will be hiding a variety of creepy crawlies inside pumpkins to see how different species use their intellect and dexterity to forage for food.
Among avian residents facing the daily pumpkin challenge will be cassowaries, one of the largest birds on the planet, super-smart Kiwi parrot the kea, high-brow hornbills and clever bird of prey the striated carcara.
“Environmental enrichment provides stimulation for our birds and encourages them to use natural behaviours to solve challenges,” said Head Keeper Alistair Keen.
“By hiding live food such as crickets or locust inside pumpkins, its means the birds have to forage to get to their food.
“For example the hornbills will use their powerful beaks to break into the pumpkin to feed, just as they would bash at hollow logs or stumps in the wild looking for grubs and beetles to feed on,” he added.
As part of Birdland’s ‘Shriek Week’ celebrations visitors can also discover why owls are considered to be so wise; where the legend of the phoenix came from; and find out which bird call the Romans believed to mean imminent death.
As well as the special Keeper Talks, there’s a family-friendly Pumpkin Trail around the gardens.