Keepers Stories – Tuesday, April 25
Spring! This season evokes a variety of feelings from people. Some look forward to the warmth and rains that come, rejuvenating us from the cold of winter. Others dread this time of year, as the favorable temperatures and precipitation kick-start the plant-life. This results in the bane of most southerners’ existence, pollen. Whether you love it or hate it, spring brings about change for everyone. For the Bird Department, this means we will start seeing some new additions to our family. No, I’m not talking about chicks of all shapes and sizes beginning to hatch into this world. I’m talking about summer term interns, who take their first steps into a strange, but larger world that is the Zoo.
Zoo Atlanta offers many rewarding internships throughout the year in each animal department. While each department has its own unique experiences, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was partial to the Bird Department internship. As the intern coordinator for the Bird Team, it is my job to select interns from a wide range of qualified candidates. Those who are chosen are in for a fun and challenging internship, especially when it comes to the spring term.
Interns’ main tasks in our department are to aid the keepers in their daily jobs. Our interns will get to help prepare diets, provide enrichment, engage in keeper talks, adjust habitats, and, of course clean. They basically get to experience the life of a keeper each day. Spring and summertime allow interns a few special experiences. This season means a good deal of helping our birds get what they need to nest, lay eggs, and raise chicks. Interns will learn a good deal about the reproductive natural history of birds from all around the world. Let’s not forget that they get to see chicks hatch! Who doesn’t want to be one of the first people to see which cute babies will hatch next?
I do want to stress that all internships within the Bird Department offer different opportunities and experiences. Fall and spring term interns still get to experience chicks hatching, as certain species hatch at different points in the year. No matter what term they choose, we strive to give our interns the best possible experience. Hopefully, we might be molding the next wave of keepers, who will continue to advocate and pass on the importance of wildlife conservation.
Keeper II, Birds