From Carnivores to Birds
Hello everyone! This is Brittney from the Birds and Program Animals Department; I am a Seasonal Bird Keeper here at Zoo Atlanta but actually started my journey as a Carnivore/Panda Intern. These are two very different departments which both have taught me a lot! Not only are the animals I work with now of a whole different class, but there are also huge differences in responsibility in terms of being an intern vs. being a keeper who is responsible for a routine in a certain area. Most importantly, I now have keys.
As a Carnivore Intern I worked with our African lions, fossa, binturong, Sumatran tigers, sun bears, clouded leopard, red panda and our giant pandas. Being an intern, I was almost always directly working with a primary keeper and considering the nature of the animals that make up the Carnivore Department, I definitely did not go in with any animal free-contact. My role as an intern consisted of helping with cleaning, diet prep, making enrichment and participating in training sessions.
My days as a Seasonal Keeper with the Bird Team are very fast-paced; I am non-stop moving until lunch. I am responsible for the “Treehouse routine” consisting of our Living Treehouse aviary, home to about 50 birds of 16 species. Additionally I care for our two kori bustards, milky eagle owls and nine different species in the KIDZone. That’s a lot of birds and also responsibility as I am the primary set of eyes to spot what’s going on! But as a Zoo employee I now have my own set of keys and I do not need to radio someone to open a door or gate for me! The best part of being a bird keeper is that I can go into each habitat free contact (with the exception of our milky eagle owls) and there is not a need to shift animals into a different space! Another very different job is checking the habitats for eggs in nest boxes, always hoping to find a new clutch being laid! So not only do I care for these birds but their eggs as well!
But my favorite part of any day as an Intern or Seasonal is spending time with the animals and getting to know each one’s unique personality!
Brittney Lie Tjauw
Seasonal Keeper, Birds