Where’s the parrot?
On a typical summer day, guests can walk to the World of Wild Theater sponsored by Georgia Natural Gas to catch a presentation or meet a bird during an encounter. While in the area, guests can also see our beautiful bald eagle, a toucan or vulture in a viewing area behind the eagle, and of course, a parrot hanging out near our theater entrance. But recently this summer, you may have noticed a missing parrot! What’s going on?
As animal care professionals and trainers, we know that giving choice and control to the animals isn’t just better for training; it’s better for their well-being as a whole. We’ve implemented a plan to give the parrots choice when they are in their outdoor home. We built a tunnel that connects their outdoor area to their inside home. As each of the parrots got a turn outdoors, we made sure they learned how to use this new tunnel.
Now all of them understand how to go in and out through the tunnel, and we can see their choices. Some birds prefer to spend more time outdoors, soaking up the warm summer weather. Others come inside to seek attention from the care team. Larry the grey parrot will spend some time making crazy sounds to attract the attention of guests walking by, and then comes inside making those same crazy sounds to interact with his team.
Not only does this new tunnel provide choice to the parrots, but it also provides more opportunity for them to access the outdoors. As temperatures start to get too hot or too cold, the parrots can have access for longer because we know they can choose to come inside and cool off or warm up as needed. This means that as we approach fall (in a month!) and winter, they’ll have a bit more time outside before it gets too cold to let them out at all.
So if you swing by the World of Wild Theater in hopes of seeing your favorite parrot, and see an empty area instead, just remember that this is the parrot’s choice. It’s one more way that we’re making animal well-being a priority at Zoo Atlanta!
Senior Keeper, Ambassador Animals