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Keeping our feathered friends cozy

Hi everyone! My name is Liz and I am one of the newest members of the Bird Team! I have worked with all sorts of birds in different zoological facilities, and just moved here from sunny Orlando about a month and a half ago. One of the biggest changes for me had been the weather; anything below 75 degrees is chilly to me. So you can imagine my shock when the high was only in the 60s for most of November, and I even saw snow this past week! I realized now that I probably need to invest in some winter gear because from what I’ve been told, it’s not even cold yet.

Just like me, a lot of our birds are native to more tropical climates than Georgia, such as Africa, Asia, and South America. Since it gets a bit colder here than the Amazon or other rainforest ecosystems, we have special adaptations of their habitats to make sure they stay nice and warm on chilly nights (and days). We have heat lamps placed near perches up high or heaters near the ground in all of our habitats that we turn on if the temperature drops below a certain degree. Some of our ground nesting birds, such as the cranes, kori bustards, and ducks, get fluffy hay beds to add a little extra warmth. With some of our less cold tolerant birds, such as our crested wood partridges, we bring the birds inside to a temperature controlled building during the night. For our very cold sensitive birds, we have housing special for them where they can stay a bit warmer throughout the winter. 

Currently, I am a Swing Keeper, so I get to rotate between all of the birds in the entire department. While I still have lots to learn about these wonderful species, many that I have never worked with before, I am looking forward to sharing and teaching our amazing guests all about these incredible animals. Feel free to say hi if you see me out and about in the Zoo. I will probably be the one bundled up in layers!

Elizabeth S.
Swing Keeper, Birds

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