Interning with our feathered friends
Hi everyone! My name is Emma, and for the past three years I’ve worked as an Exhibit Interpreter in Zoo Atlanta’s Education Department. If you’re a frequent guest at the Zoo, you might have seen me talking to guests about the animals, running Giraffe Feeding, or taking folks behind the scenes on Wild Encounters. But for the past three months I’ve also been working as an Intern with Zoo Atlanta’s Bird Team!
What does an intern on the Animal Care Team do? While you might think I spent most of my day getting the members of the Bird Team all their coffees, Zoo Atlanta Internships are far more hands-on in terms of helping out with the care of the animals. This ranges from getting their diets ready, to servicing their habitats (this is when we come in, clean up the habitats, and bring them new food and fresh water), to side projects like making dummy eggs to help out our potential bird parents for upcoming breeding season!
Why was I interested in a Zoo Atlanta Internship in the first place? Along with a degree related to animal sciences (animal care professionals have degrees in biology, zoology, ecology, and even psychology!), many zoos require experience in an AZA-accredited setting for potential new teammates., An internship can be a fantastic way to gain this experience. I’m especially lucky to be doing my internship with the Bird Team because with a few exceptions for safety reasons (no, they don’t let me service our giant lappet-faced vultures), I’m doing the same work the rest of the Bird Team does. Thanks to so much hands-on experience, I’ve become confident in the various routines and birds in our population.
An additional plus of the internship is that it has given me insight into the world of bird care that allows me to do my job as an Exhibit Interpreter a lot better. Now if a guest asks what our tawny frogmouth eats (giant mealworms and mice!) or where do our birds from warmer climates go when it’s cold (our Bird Propagation Center that is behind the scenes!), I feel I can share with them a lot of info that will give them a newfound appreciation for our birds and the hard work the team does. The next time you’re visiting Zoo Atlanta, check them out!
The Bird Internship has been an amazing experience with a supportive and knowledgeable team and I feel it’s going to strengthen my experience at Zoo Atlanta regardless of what my future holds next. Thanks for reading!