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Winter is coming

Hello, readers! I’m Josh, a member of the Bird Team here at Zoo Atlanta. I can’t believe that we are already approaching the winter season. It feels like just yesterday that the temperatures were in the 90s, but that’s Georgia weather for you. While the seasons find a way to sneak up on us, the Bird Team started thinking about, and preparing, for the coming winter season months ago. We try to get all of our “winterizing” done early so we aren’t surprised and scrambling to get things done on that first sub 40° night. We want to make sure that the animals in our care are able to remain comfortable as we start getting into the real cold weather.

A lot of the birds at Zoo Atlanta are from climates that are more tropical than what is found in Georgia, and our goal is to allow the weather to disrupt the animal’s lives as little as possible. Some of the ways we do this include hanging heat lamps or offering the ground-dwelling birds piles of straw to nest in. We also condition our animals to come inside at night. The best way to help motivate birds to shift inside is by offering some or all their food there. This gets the birds comfortable coming inside where it is easier to heat.

For some of our less cold-tolerant birds, and less reliable shifters, we find it less stressful for them to just relocate them to behind-the-scenes areas, and they will live there until springtime. As you walk through our Living Treehouse, you may notice that the hamerkops and the sunbittern family are nowhere to be found. But don’t worry about them! They are currently housed in a heated building and will return to their treehouse home in the springtime.

Josh M.
Keeper II, Birds

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