Birds Birds Birds…
Its 8 am, the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the birds are chirping and I do mean all the birds! Here at the Virginia Zoo we have over 100 birds representing 42 different species from 5 different continents!
They range in size from as big as an ostrich to as small as a Golden Taveta Weaver. We have ground birds like the Crested Wood Partridge and Green-Naped Pheasant Pigeons and high flying forest canopy birds like the Rhinoceros Hornbills. We have birds that eat only fruits and veggies like the Black-Naped Fruit Dove, and we have birds that eat only meat like the Red-Tailed Hawks.
There are some birds that build nests out of grasses and leaves like the White Naped Cranes, and some birds that build their nests out of sticks like the Cinereous Vultures. Birds that are blue like the Victoria Crowned Pigeons and birds that are green like the Pink Necked Pigeons. We even have birds like the Cassowaries that are black with blue heads! There are emus that lay huge eggs and Fairy Bluebird that lay small eggs. We have birds like the Thrushes that like to laugh and the Crested Screamers that like to yell, and we also have the peacocks whose call you probably know well. We have birds with long legs and others with short, we have some that hunt bugs like their own kind of sport.
Every day they all must be cleaned and be fed, and given enrichment before they go to bed. All of their differences make them unique, and you can see most of them 7 days a week!
Fun Facts about our birds:
- We have the largest (Sarus Crane) and smallest (Demoiselle Crane) types of crane in the world.
- Male cassowaries are the ones that incubate the eggs and take care of their young. This is true for all ratites.
- The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the largest of the pigeon family.
- We have two types of Hornbills here at the zoo, Rhinoceros Hornbills and Southern Ground Hornbills. Both are endangered in the wild and the zoo contributes to conservation projects for both species!
- The cassowaries here at the zoo eat up to 7.5lbs of produce each day!!
- Each morning it takes about 30-45 minutes to prepare the diets for each bird. Worms, diced fruits and vegetables, and different pellets are added to the bowls to meet the individual dietary needs of all the birds.
By Brooke Akright
Lead Bird Keeper