This weeks blog is a day late so apologies for any inconvenience. We have a keeper away so the 3 of us have been working non stop to ensure that all the animals are fed, the aviaries clean, the bins emptied and the public entertained.
Keepers being off is inevitable and it is for that reason that the various sections each have the same types of birds on them. So, for example, with Helen away this week I have been covering her round but tomorrow I am also off. Rob will cover much of Helen’s round and although he doesn’t work on Helen’s section very often, he will know that Helen’s pheasants will get the same diet as his, the Macaws on Helen’s will get the same diet as his conures (although in larger quantities) & that her Blue Magpies will eat the same as his Azure Winged Magpies.
In our kitchen area we have individual notice boards where we can leave notes for the staff covering our section. For example Chris is slowly introducing the Siamese Fireback Pheasants on his section, on his board he can leave notes as to how long he is mixing them, what time of day he does this and any notes/concerns that he has from watching the birds. We can also leave predicted hatch dates on the boards, as well as notes on any animals on medicine (amounts, duration etc)
With only 4 keepers we have to be quiet flexible in covering each other. We need a minimum of 2 keepers on any day so staff regularly swap days off to help each other out.
In news this week:
A female Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove has arrived from a private breeder. She is serving a weeks quarantine before joining our male
The Splendid Parakeets, found in the finch aviary, have a chick as do the Zebra Finches in the same aviary.
The Emerald Doves in the discovery Zone also have a chick.
The Azure Wing Magpies have started attacking Rob this week, which is usually a sign that they have young tucked away in a nest box
The male Ross’ Goose has been moved offshow as he is looking a bit scruffy and is slightly thin. We have him on a course of medicine and are reviewing him daily. He is feeding and drinking so he should be back out in the near future.
We have had eggs from the Rhea, Roul Roul Partridge, Dwarf Turtle Dove, Desert Finch & Military Macaws
The Red Winged Starlings have started nest building, this is the first time for 7 years when they last attempted to breed, laying eggs in the old glass fronted aviaries.
The male Ruff in the Aviary Boulevard is starting to develop his breeding plumage. This will involve the growth of a ruff (hence the name) of feathers around the head in order to attract a female. In the wild male Ruffs will lek, where they engage in mock fights to impress the girls. No two male Ruffs will have the same pattern of colours, and colours can varying from white to browns & blacks.
Two White Naped Crane eggs were removed as they had failed to hatch, both were infertile.
In wildlife news I heard my first Swift of the year on Monday, yet to see one as yet. The Chiffchaff & Blackcaps continue to sing away & I’m 90% certain I heard a Garden Warbler yesterday outside the staff room (would be a Birdland first for me)
Check back for more news next week