Smelling like your particular animal is part of the job. So is getting dirty and wet. It is a never-ending cycle of meals and cleaning punctuated by moments of unusual tasks. Lorikeet Landing is an exhibit containing primarily Lorikeets, but there are other species in there as well including Gallah Parrots, Princess of Wales and Superb Parakeets. Something was up with the Princess Parakeets. They were thin and didn’t look so hot. One had died. It had been a little chilly at night so Dave, the “Major Dude”, and Steve Malowski, the Team Leader decided to bring them in so they could stay in a holding cage inside where it was warmer. So we had to catch them. Easier said than done. They didn’t want to get them wet as it was chilly at night, so we resorted to nets:
I didn’t take photos of the event because I was too busy trying to keep the birds flying to the other end of the flight cage where the Keepers could net them. After 40 minutes we had manage to get 4. But over the next 2 days, various Keepers wold nab one or two during their maintenance of the flight and eventually they were all brought inside. The Zoo Vet did a fecal exam and found them to have roundworm, not unusual in birds kept outside. So they were treated using injections of a dewormer. But first they had to caught again from the inside holding cage:
Dan is getting into position with a net to catch the Parakeets. With all of the perches and hanging vines in the holding area, it was tough to net them, but we managed without overly stressing them.
A Princess of Wales getting an injection. Steve held the bird while Vet Tech Jenny injects her. They weren’t too happy about it, but settled down in the flight immediately after and they are looking spunkier now.
Later that day, we had one of the Zoo Vets come in to look at Cookie, the Little Penguin’s feet and tidy up his sores.. Kim Klosterman helped the Vet by holding Cookie:
Cookie has had a running battle with bumble foot. The Vets surmise it is Cookie’s “conformation” or way he is built that causes him to rock back on his heels causing chronic sores that have to be cleaned up and bandaged. The wounds heal, he is placed back in the Little Penguin enclosure, and they flare up again and they have to put the “Socks” on him again and keep his feet dry. A side issue with keeping a penguin dry is that they start looking like hell because they can’t properly preen dry feathers. Cookie is perfectly fine other than the sores on his heels. But he looks like a mess because his foot bandages need to remain dry. We don’t care. Cookie is a sweet little penguin. These are his bandages, or socks for his heel sores. This is after one day. These guys are changing Cookie’s socks all of the time. Perhaps Nike could step in? How about a little help with a waterproof penguin sneaker for Cookie?
Patricia Sund is a Free-Lance Writer residing in Florida with her three African Greys. She has been published in About.com, Bird Talk Magazine, Birds USA, In Your Flock Magazine, Good Bird Magazine as well as numerous websites and newsletters. She is currently doing research for a book titled "Parrot Nation".