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Keeper Stories – Tuesday, January 10

It’s our first Bird Team keeper blog of the year, and we have a really exciting new bird arriving! In late fall, we very sadly lost our elderly male wreathed hornbill Betelgeuse. He was the man, the beast, terror of the skies. Not really, but he was a tough and feisty old guy and a perennial staff favorite.
He left behind his mate Zelda (pictured) and their chick Lydia. Lydia is now ready to go to a new home and future husband at the Kansas City Zoo, and we are delighted to welcome a new male here to keep Zelda company. He’s coming from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina, and his name is currently Buddy. We do want to change his name since we already have another bird named Buddy. He’s a strapping guy by all accounts but apparently has never shown aggression to people. That’ll be a change after his predecessor. Buddy’s former mate (Holly) was a very tough cookie; she seriously ruled the roost to the point that the two birds could no longer live together. And what happened to Holly? She has gone to live with a son of Zelda and Betelgeuse and apparently they are a match made in heaven, so it all turned right in the end.

Bird Keeper Allie is heading to Greenville to pick up Buddy, along with two additional keepers on their day off. They’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo before heading back with the bird. They have to take along our State of Georgia import permit as required by law. They are also taking a large Zoo Atlanta travel crate which got scrubbed and disinfected so it can go on grounds at Greenville Zoo without risk of taking contaminants to that zoo. When the bird gets unloaded at our zoo, the crate will be disinfected again so no chance of contaminants arriving from Greenville. Our respective zoos have high standards of cleanliness and quarantine.

After 30 days of quarantine here, we will be able to set Buddy up next to his intended Zelda and hope that they like each other. At least we can be pretty certain that Zelda will be a kinder wife than Holly!

We’ll keep you updated!
James Ballance
Curator of Birds

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl