Bird keepers are busy preparing for the upcoming avian breeding season.
Many of the feathered collection typically breed around March and April, and keepers are giving them a little encouragement by adding extra foliage, plants and nesting boxes to many of the enclosures.
Section leader, Kellie Piper, explained: “Breeding preparation varies with species; we are making up wooden nesting boxes for the scarlet macaws and Amazon parrots, whereas birds like tragopans and egrets prefer platforms to nest on, and we’ll add extra foliage and planting material in the South American paddock, which the birds can use for making up their own nests. “
However, a change in weather can scupper plans.
Kellie added: “If we get a lot of rain, or it suddenly drops cold, it can affect behaviour and breeding patterns, so fingers crossed for a few mild months and we’ll soon hear those newborn cheeps!”
CAPTION: Bird Keeper Kriss Pearson with a parrot nesting box.
RIOT STARTS IN COURTYARD
Assistant, Curator Richard Brown, was in the right place at the right time when a bird of prey flew off during a display.
Riot, a Gyr Saker falcon, was being exercised in the castle courtyard, when he was mobbed by a flock of seagulls.
The bird became spooked by the gulls and flew away from Section Leader, Kellie Piper, and straight over the castle wall.
Keepers began searching for Riot, but his radio tracking transmitter wasn’t working.
Luckily Richard was carrying out work by the otter enclosure, when he heard the sound of tinkling bells nearby.
It turned out the noise was the small bells attached to Riot’s feet, who had landed near the lion enclosure, allowing Richard to quickly catch the falcon and reunite him with Kellie.