St. Schilling’s Day

March 17 is not only the world-celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but also Schilling the emu’s 13th birthday! Schilling lives with Lester in the Australia Walkabout exhibit along with wallabies and their ratite neighbors, Southern cassowaries. Schilling and Lester look almost identical, but Schilling has more feathers on his head than his emu pal.

A typical day’s diet for Schilling and Lester includes eating around two pounds of produce, including apples, greens and grapes, and one pound of ratite grain. The birds also occasionally eat rocks and pebbles, which help in digestion and the break-down of food.

For Schilling’s birthday meal, which he ultimately shared with Lester, Zoo Sous Chef James cored, peeled and spiraled apples, and pulled out some green grapes for a unique green treat. Keepers Hailey and Bailey also incorporated an enriching feeder for the emus’ leafy greens. Watch our latest Animeals vlog, also featured on the Virginia Zoo’s Virtual Voyage, to see what the big birds did with their food!