Posts Tagged ‘bird’

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Farmyard Visitors

August 23rd, 2014

Early one morning, I got a radio call from Sprout Cafe asking if we could come pick up a bird who had flown into the glass. Ranger Greg got to the cafe before me and handed me a small, white paper lunch bag; bird inside.

Look who it was!!

This is either a female or an immature (male or female) Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The little bird had a few sips of sugary Gatorade and rested for about 10 minutes, before flying to the top of a River Birch tree.

Only a few days after the hummingbird visit, I picked up this scaly, little fellow. This Rough Earth snake had been hunting insects (or napping) in the middle of a big mulch pile that I was in the process of spreading out and kept getting right in my way. He/She was relocated safely away from the tines of my rake.

 

Most recently, this lovely lady dropped in to visit. I think this particular Grey fox has been visiting the Farmyard for several years. She uses the train tracks like a highway from the wooded areas at the back of our campus to the more populated sections by the train station and farmyard. She was a common morning visitor back when Ducky was alive. She would  creep around the edges of the farmyard and Ducky would puff up and charge at her and scare her off. Without the duck to try and catch for breakfast (assuming that’s what she was after), she hasn’t come around much in the mornings.

Ranger Greg has done many blog posts featuring the resident foxes. Check out his blog for better fox photos than my old cell phone camera can take.

 

Nearly every morning, I get to say hello to one of the most frequent (and my favorite) farmyard visitors: a female Eastern Towhee. Like the Grey fox, this little bird was also attracted to the farmyard seemingly because of Ducky. She hops all the way from the front entry plaza where she spends most of the day, up to the farmyard where she pops in and out of the animal yards, picking up bugs or pieces of spilled chow. She used to share Ducky’s breakfast with him and could be seen later in the morning tucked up alongside him taking a nap. Nowadays, I see her hopping her old route along the back of the farmyard, often with a male in tow. She’s identifiable by her consistent lack of tail feathers (she usually has only 2 or 3) and spotted rufous left side.

Join the conversation:

  1. love hearing about our guests- thanks for sharing Sarah!

    Posted by sherry
  2. Your hummingbird photos are really impressive, such a cool experience to see one so close.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Trimming Duck’s Wings

February 13th, 2013

Have you ever wandered into the farmyard and asked yourself, “Why doesn’t the duck simply fly away?”

There are three answers:

1. He does, sometimes. As you can see here in an older post.

2. He seasonally has wing feathers trimmed to help keep him down on the ground.

3. At nearly 11 pounds, he’s a little bit too chubby to really get off the ground.

 

In the early spring and fall, Ducky molts (loses) his old feathers and grows a nice new set in. This would prepare him for long, seasonal migration flights, if he were a wild duck. These young feathers, called ‘blood’ or ‘pin’ feathers, have a great blood supply and birds need to be handled carefully when they’re coming in. Once the pin feathers grow out completely into flight feathers, we can safely trim them back to keep our duck grounded.

Keeper Kent holds Ducky snugly with Duck’s feet tucked into his arm to keep Katy safe from his claws. Kent is also extending Duck’s right wing in this photo

Duck wing extended

Keeper Katy extends Duck’s left wing and counts the feathers to be trimmed. 

Katy trims feathers

With rounded bandage scissors, Keeper Katy starts to trim away feathers

more feathers trimmed

You can see the small gap the missing feathers are creating in Duck’s wing, this is what stops him from flying.

weighing ducky

Kent and Katy place Ducky down onto a scale for weighing. The rubber bowl gives his feet traction so he doesn’t slide off the metal scale.

sitting duck

Trimming feathers might look a little rough, but it doesn’t seem to bother our duck very much.

Join the conversation:

  1. do you need to do both wings?

    Posted by bette fredrickson
  2. Yes, Bette, we do trim both wings. If we only did one wing, our duck would be very off balance if he were to hop up onto a higher surface and try to flutter back down to the ground. With only one wing trimmed, he might spin or crash to the ground, but with both done, it takes him only 2 or 3 attempts before he figures out how to descend from higher ground safely.

    Posted by Sarah

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Jay Bird

April 20th, 2011

Meet Jay Bird, our newest animal who is  a young blue jay. I posted a while ago about ravens and the family Corvidae, a blue jay is in  the same one.  You may see blue jays in the wild at your house or here on museum grounds. This bird came to us from a rehabber who helped take care of Jay because it had some broken bones in its leg. The way the bones healed would not allow it to be released, but dont let that fool you because Jay is very active.  Jay, hops from perch to perch in the  cage, throws bits of mulch through the small wires and makes a big mess. The first week we had Jay here, some of the keepers thought they heard a voice from a radio speaking. It turned out to be Jay babbling on. So far, he/she can ring like a cell phone but Keeper Katy is convinced to teach it to say “pretty bird.” Unfortunately, we dont know if Jay is a male or female because the plumage is the same for both sexes. Jay bird loves to eat crickets and superworms, but we also provide him with other things such as wax worms,grapes and other dry foods.

If Jay Bird learns more sounds or words, I will let you guys know.

Join the conversation:

  1. Jay Bird has always been very vocal. And what a personality. And don’t be late for dinner….Jay Bird will let you know about it.

    Posted by Randy
  2. Jay Bird is the coolest thing ever!!!!! Well except for Mason the ferret…so Jay Bird is the 2nd coolest thing ever!!!!!!!

    Posted by Katy
  3. We now have a game where I give him part of food and he goes to hide it.Usually his hiding spots are a hole that he tore in his newspaper.

    Posted by jillb

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *