Wow- the monthy of July is just flying by! Between all the happenings in the rainforest and staff coverage during summer vacations, your rainforest biologists have been staying active. So what’s been going on? Well, let’s see:
Last weekend we had two successful bird fledglings leave their nest and take flight. First we had a silver-beaked tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) fledge, bringing our population for that species to five birds. For some reason our female red-legged honeycreepers (Cyanerpes cyaneus) have taken an interest in silver-beaked tanager juveniles. Here are some fun photos of one of the honeycreepers with the last batch of silver-beaked juvies:
Just a couple days after that, a bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) decided to fledge as well, bringing our total population to six birds (two pairs and two offspring). Here’s a photo of the adult female taking a break from her parental duties to take a sip of nectar:
On July 12 we received 3.1 paradise tanagers (Tangara chilensis). Nope, it doesn’t mean we received three and a fraction of birds. In zoo/aquarium speak, that first number is the number of males and the second number is the number of females. So we received three male paradise tanagers and one female paradise tanager. We also received 2.2 (two pairs) black-faced dacnis (Dacnis lineata). We currently have several female paradise tanagers like the one below that we hope will be excited to have three new males to choose from!
What happens when we receive new birds from another facility? First, the animals are placed in quarantine and receive extensive medical check-ups from our superb veterinary staff. This ensures that they do not have any communicative diseases. After a minimum of 30 days in quarantine and several clean fecal samples, our veterinary staff will evaluate whether these individuals are healthy enough to incorporate into our resident bird community.
If they get a clean bill of health, we place the new birds in a “howdy cage” in the rainforest for 12-24 hours. This gives them a chance to greet the resident birds (and vice-versa) with the safety of some physical seperation. Kind of like an icebreaker. It also gives them the chance to look around and take in their surroundings. The howdy cage is hidden on the main level of the rainforest:
After some time acclimating, we will open the howdy cage door and let them leave at their choice. Typically they fly out of the cage pretty fast and head up into the trees, where many of our resident birds fly down and everyone chatters for a bit. We do have a couple individuals that are a bit bossy, so we keep an eye on how they’re treating the newbies. Our primary bully is currently our male rufous-crowned tanager (Tangara cayana):
And finally, some of you may have seen the red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) who recently fledged from a nest on Academy property. While technically not part of our rainforest exhibit and therefore not really under the scope of this blog, the juvies have been observed sitting on the living roof above the rainforest, so there’s the connection! It’s been fun observing them as they gain confidence in their flying abilities and manouver around in the sky above. Look for them on your next visit!