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Tuesday, March 15

Oh boy, spring has sprung, love is in the air and trouble is a’brewing!

Superb starling dramas in Living Treehouse – the male is getting a new female from the Brookfield Zoo. However, she is not here yet so he’s still living with one son and three daughters. Well, he now wants to kick his son out of the house and so we are having to assist. So the son will move to another space for the meantime. What a drama king.

Buffalo weavers are setting up home also and have a large and untidy twig nest going on. They have built two nests and tunnels within the pile and we think the female has now laid eggs. But this female doesn’t care to incubate her own eggs; she is much more interested in what is happening in the big wide world. If she doesn’t incubate the eggs won’t hatch, so we are pulling her eggs and hope to hatch them in the incubator. Then we’ll put them back in the nest at hatching and she should raise them just fine. Raising kids is more fun than sitting on eggs. Drama queen.
Next troublemaker is our female Victoria crowned pigeon. Each year she lays fertile eggs, each year the male takes his turn at incubating the egg, and every year she can’t be bothered. So after 24 hours there’s no one left to incubate. Historically we have had to hand-raise their chicks. So this year we have tried something different and they are in a quieter, more hidden area of a larger habitat. She laid two days ago, we put the egg in the incubator, gave her an artificial egg, and wonder of wonders she seems to be sitting well when it’s her turn. Hopefully they can raise their own chick this year. Ha! Double drama queen.

In the incubator we also have a kori bustard egg which we think is fertile. If it hatches it will be the first kori we have ever bred here. We’ll aim to hand-rear it alongside the parents so it grows up knowing it’s a kori. A lot of work for us but if it works out…. So exciting, fingers crossed. Ha. Drama curator.

There are other birds breeding without drama, but where’s the fun in writing about that?
James Ballance
Curator of Birds and Program Animals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl