Thursday, May 30, 2013

Really Weird Birds: The Horned Guan


Horned Guans are only native to the high mountainous pine/oak forests of southeastern Mexico and Guatemala. 

This is an extremely specific ecological niche.  By the early 1930s, loss of habitat and hunting greatly reduced their population. They are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List.  It is estimated that there are only between 1,000 – 2,499 individuals left.

These birds are named so because of their unusual red horn of bare skin on the top of their heads.  Their body feathers are black with a glossy blue-green sheen, except for down the front of their necks and chests, which is a mottled white.  They also have a white band on their tails.


Horned Guan at the Saint Louis Zoo. Photo by Dan Coulter http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancoulter/496346695/

Both males and females have the strange horn-like structure on their head, so it’s not a weird thing males use for courtship; it’s just a weird thing!  It protrudes from their skull and unlike any other “horned” bird in the world, it is not connected with bill or feather.

They are related to and are about the size of a small turkey, and spend most of their time up in trees where they consume fruits, flowers, leaves, and the occasional insect.  Males are polygamous and will mate with several females.  Nests are built in high branches up to 66 feet off the ground.  Females will only lay one or two eggs, which also doesn’t help their population decline.

Local efforts have been made to help this endangered species.  The Saint Louis Zoo developed the Horned Guan Conservation Center to be the leading U.S. organization committed to the conservation of the species and its habitat.  They will help to initiate local education programs and actions to reduce threats caused by illegal tree removal and hunting.  

The Horned Guan plays an important role in the regeneration of mountain forests through seed dispersal.  The Saint Louis Zoo is currently studying the nutritional habits of this bird to aid in its conservation.

The World Bird Sanctuary helps endangered birds as well!  For example, we are currently breeding and releasing barn owls into the wild. 

If you want to help endangered birds, part of the World Bird Sanctuary’s mission is to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments.  You can help us fulfill our mission by simply visiting us and spreading what you’ve learned, becoming a member or friend, or adopting-a-bird, which helps feed that bird for a year!

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Amazing Animal Encounters


Visit World Bird Sanctuary this summer and experience Amazing Animal Encounters!

Ameren Missouri brings you free, family-friendly, fun and education Amazing Animal Encounters at World Bird Sanctuary, all summer long!


Free, fun, family-friendly environmental education programs are presented by our naturalists, using snakes, parrots, birds and mammals to teach you about the amazing creatures that share our planet, and what we can do to help them survive.

Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Time: Saturdays at 11.30am and 2.00pm; Sundays 1.30pm. 
Admission: Admission and parking is FREE.  No reservations required.

Sponsored by Ameren Missouri

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Join Us For National Trails Day


Join us as we celebrate the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day at World Bird Sanctuary!



Enjoy the outdoors at this family-friendly event, with three different length trails to suit your pace!  Naturalists with live animals will be at interpretation stations along the trails.  There will be free children’s activities with prizes and snack foods will be on sale!
Our Naturalists will introduce you to live animals at stations along the trail

In addition, there will be several hiking safety seminars where you will learn what to take with you on a hike in case you find yourself in an emergency, and what action to take in case of an emergency.  There will be free give-aways of small first aid items to help you get your emergency hiking first aid kit started!

Take this opportunity to explore the outdoors in a setting that is close-by, with interesting stops along the way.

Date: Saturday, June 1st
Time: 9am – 1pm. 
Admission: Admission and parking is free.  No reservations required.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Field Studies 2013


Hello again everybody. It’s me again, Neal Cowan, back for another exciting summer at The World Bird Sanctuary.

This year I will be taking over as Field Studies Coordinator for World Bird Sanctuary.  With the help of Ameren Missouri, we are studying the effects of vegetation control techniques on cavity nesters in the right-of-ways under the major power lines.  I am very excited to be a part of this study.

One of the nestboxes we will monitor

Our work began mid-February when I was introduced to our Ameren Missouri liaison, and together we began planning for the new season.  Starting in the cold weather of February, I have been finding, cleaning, and repairing (in many cases replacing) the 240 nest boxes we have in the field.

Spring is in the air now and I have begun monitoring every box for signs of life as Missouri songbirds start looking for an inviting spot to raise a family.  The weather has not been particularly cooperative as of late, but I have faith in the resolve and determination of the songbirds of Missouri. I am looking forward to a good year.

The study centers around right-of-ways such as this one

The World Bird Sanctuary was initially contacted by Ameren Missouri for this study back in 2004.  There are two main methods used by Ameren to keep the right-of-ways clear: spraying herbicide, and mowing.  It was their concern for the environmental impact of these methods that started this study, which aims to understand precisely how these procedures used to control the vegetation within right-of-ways are impacting the ecosystem.  To this end we have eighty nest boxes along each of three lines: a line that is mowed only, a line that is just sprayed with herbicide and one that is managed using a combination of mowing and spraying.

I know what you must be thinking: a study that focuses only on songbirds is not likely to give you a very complete picture, but I would beg to differ.  Songbirds are an excellent indicator of the overall health of any environment (at least any environment that is naturally home to songbirds).  Trying to determine the environmental health of, say, Antarctica through songbirds might not work out as well.  Overall, songbirds are well understood in their habits and anatomy, they stand out in their respective environments both visibly and audibly, and are relatively sensitive to subtle changes in their respective ecosystems. When times get tough, we see it in the birds; that is why they make an excellent indicator species, and why they are the focus of our study.

Over the past nine years of this study, it has been passed down to many people, all of whom have brought new insight and ideas for getting the most out of the data.  Last year’s Field Studies Coordinator brought things forward and did some amazing work cleaning up the process.  I am very excited to be a part of this study for the 2013 season and hope that I am able to contribute to this fascinating work.

Submitted by Neal Cowan, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

365 Photo Project--The Pallid Bat!


April has been a busy month for photos, since with the start of spring comes flowers and birds. 


My favorite photo for the month is from our Baturday event in early April.  This year we invited other groups to attend the event.  One of the groups in attendance was the U,S. Forestry Service and Bat World of the Ozarks, who had some local live bats, as well as a species from the Southwestern US--the Pallid Bat.  This particular bat was found in Fenton, MO.  I am not sure as to all of the details surrounding this bat, but she was extremely cute.


The Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus, is a common species throughout the Western U.S., from the Southern coastal Canada to Mexico.  The furthest concentration to the east is two small colonies in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas. 

They species prefers arid regions and grassland environments.  They are mostly known for their large ears, which are about half the size of their body, and for their large eyes.

Pallid Bats eat crickets, beetles, centipedes, grasshoppers and even scorpions.  They are actually immune to a scorpion’s sting.  Pallid Bats feed mainly on the ground.  They grab their prey from the ground and then carry it to a nearby perch to feed. 

Pallid Bats weigh 0.7 to 1.2 ounces and have a wing span of 15-16 inches.  They can eat half their body weight a night.

If you want to learn more about bats join us next year as we expand our event.  Watch our Facebook page and website for more information.  Baturday is the first Saturday in April.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Monday, May 20, 2013

May Nature Hike Coming Up


Hey!  There's Nature in My Woods!  Time to go find it!

Have you booked your family onto World Bird Sanctuary's family-friendly guided nature hikes yet?

Downy Woodpeckers can be seen probing for insects under the bark of the trees
Join us for a leisurely 2-hour hike through our oak hickory forest to see what kind of nature is in our woods.

An expert naturalist will lead you on your hike – where you may see birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.  Learn about trees, rocks and who knows what else!

Each hike will be a new experience depending on the season and creatures we encounter.

Time: Hike starts at 9am.  Registration at 8.30am.
Dates: Every fourth Saturday of the month from April until October.
April 27th
May 25th
June 22nd
July 27th
August 24th
September 28th
October 26th

Enjoy a walk through our oak hickory forest.
Cost: $9 for adults; $7 for children under 12.  Groups of 10 or more - $7 per person regardless of age.

Reservations Required: Call 636-225-4390 ext. 0 to make your reservation and find out what nature is in your woods!

Dress for the weather and don't forget your binoculars and cameras!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who Doesn't Love Caramel?


I love caramel!  The taste, color, texture, and the satisfaction I get from eating it.   My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.   Another thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word caramel is a very special bird, named Carmelita.

 Carmelita is a Great-Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).  In this blog, I will discuss the history of her species along with her quirks, some facts, and a special story that I hope you will find very interesting.   Now, let’s dive right in!

Carmelita is 31 years old this year.  She was named after a past employee’s mother-in-law!  Carmelita came to the World Bird Sanctuary in March of 1982 as an orphaned chick.  She has traveled to many states in the United States and has also been a surrogate mother to other orphaned chicks after becoming an adult.  She is a great role model for the young owls, since she feeds them and makes sure they grow up knowing their own species before they are returned to the wild.

Below, is a 2011 picture of Carmelita when she was in the bird show at Grant’s Farm.  She had a very relaxed but curious look to her and I just had to capture it!

Great Horned Owls are native to North America and South America.  These amazing owls are so adaptable that they can be seen as far north as central Alaska and as far south as Argentina and Chile.  The type of habitat where they can be found ranges greatly, but they favor open woodlands and agricultural regions.  They can also be found in suburban and urban areas, and also boreal forests and deserts. 

Nesting sites also vary and may include tree cavities, cliffs, on top of buildings, and even on the ground.  Many birds will spend hours upon hours making their nest, but not these birds.  They will actually steal another bird’s nest for their own.  The nesting season for owls starts in mid winter, when no other birds are nesting, so it’s easy for them to take over a Red-tailed Hawk nest, for example.  Nest stealing is a great adaptation because it saves them energy and time.  Their clutch size (group of eggs or chicks) ranges from one to five in a nest.  The chicks will hatch after 28-35 days of being incubated and then fledge (leave the nest) at 9-10 weeks old.  The chicks may stick around the parents for several months, even after they are able to fly.

A Great Horned Owl’s diet consists of a variety of animals, such as small to medium sized mammals (even skunks!) and birds, amphibians, invertebrates, snakes and other reptiles.  These beautiful creatures are the only animals to eat those black and white stink bombs on a regular basis!   The food they eat the most is mammals.  At WBS we feed our birds a natural diet.  Carmelita’s more favored foods are mice and rats.  Some days she will be given day old chicks, rabbit, or venison, all of course frozen and thawed as she needs. 

As with most birds of prey, the females are about a third larger in size than the males. These birds have a body length of 18-25in (1.5-2ft) and a wingspan of 40-57in (3-4.5ft).  Just because these birds are decent sized in length does not make them heavy in weight.  Birds normally look heavier than what they really are, mostly because of all those feathers.  Great-Horned Owls weigh from 32-88oz (2-5.5lbs).  Amazing isn’t it? 

Earlier I had mentioned Carmelita’s age of 31.  In the wild, these owls average from 5-15 years.  In captivity however, they can reach as high as 40 years.  I think that is impressive.

One Sunday afternoon after coming back from Grant’s Farm, I unloaded Carmelita from her crate and took her into her outside mew (holding area).  I put her on one of her perches and then noticed that she needed fresh water, so I dumped her water out and left to obtain some fresh water. 

At first when I came back I could not find her, which made my heart skip a beat and my face flush.  Then I spotted her.  I wanted to laugh so hard that I was shaking from trying to hold in the laughter.   I knew that if she heard me laugh she would move, and I wanted to get a few pictures of her.  She stood still for at least 45 to 60 seconds, which doesn’t seem like a long time, but it allowed me to get the first photo—albeit a shaky one--since I was trying desperately to muffle my laughter! 

Photo #4

Then I said, “Carmelita what are you doing silly girl? (I talk to birds all the time)”   She immediately turned her head around to face me with this look on her face that probably said, “Ummm—excuse me—water goes here!”  For me these pictures are priceless!  Keep in mind that the water bowl was lying flat on the ground when I left.  Carmelita is definitely my favorite Great-Horned Owl!   I just love her “personality” so much.  I guess she was just really thirsty.  She is so funny!

Carmelita is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information, call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

This summer (now through Labor Day) Carmelita can be seen at Grant’s Farm St. Louis, MO Tuesday through Sunday.   Carmelita is a very gorgeous bird.  You should stop by the WBS exhibit at Grant’s Farm and visit her this summer! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Avian Training Workshop--Have You Reserved Your Spot Yet?


World Bird Sanctuary will be hosting its hugely popular Avian Training Workshop October 31-November 3, 2013.
Fly a Harris' Hawk and/or a Barn Owl

If you've considered attending the World Bird Sanctuary Avian Training Workshop in the past but couldn’t work it into your schedule, now is your chance to plan ahead.   There's still plenty of time to arrange your schedule and take advantage of the early registration bonus!  Save $100 by registering before October 1st!

What is an Avian Training Workshop you may ask?  

The WBS Avian Training Workshop is an intensive 4-day workshop, which covers all aspects of housing, training, feeding and caring for raptors, parrots, corvids and many other species.  The workshop includes both classroom and hands-on training.


Subjects covered in the classroom section include:  
*  Establishing your own program--permits, insurance, facilities, staff & volunteers
*  Working with and training your bird--manning and positive reinforcement, desensitizing
*  Choosing the correct species to work with
*  Transportation--crates, permits, driving, flying, shipping
*  Housing--mews, jumpboxes, A-frames, flight cages, climate, hotwiring enclosures, substrates
*  Perch types--bow, platform, screen, etc.--which perch works best for which species
*  Diets--food types, frozen vs. live, storage, prep, raising food colonies, vitamins
*  Training your birds for flying--weight management, base weights, target weighs, flyer food

Students learning to do a gross necropsy on a raptor

Everybody's favorite--the hands-on section:
Our staff believes the only way to learn is through the hands-on experience of doing things yourself.  At our workshop you will have the opportunity to actually do the following:
*  Make jesses, anklets, leashes
*  Practice imping feathers
*  Experience coping and trimming of a raptor
*  Participate in simple public speaking games and learn how different elements make you a better public speaker
*  Fly a Harris' Hawk and/or Barn Owl with WBS staff
*  Help train a new behavior with a Raven or crow (continues throughout the workshop)
*  "Be the Bird" in our training game
*  Participate in emergency medical care and do a gross necropsy on a raptor

Learn to weight manage your birds

The workshop also includes an extensive tour of WBS' facilities and opportunities to see birds and housing up close.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  Workshop has a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 20.

WHEN:  Thursday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 3

EARLY REGISTRATION:  Sign up by October 1st - Cost - $650/person
LATE REGISTRATION:  Sign up after October 1st - Cost - $750/person

$100 non-refundable deposit required by 10/01/13 for early registration, balance due by 10/15/13.

Registration fee includes lunch each day.

Transportation to and from St. Louis, hotel accommodations and breakfast & dinner are the responsibility of each participant.

To download a registration form CLICK HERE

Further questions?  Contact Teri Graves, 636-225-4390, ext. 0 or email workshop@worldbirdsanctuary.org




Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Whoo’s that? Reese!



It’s true dear readers, there is a new man in my life.  He’s handsome, talkative, about a foot tall and nocturnal.
Reese learning to stand on the glove
Okay, so he’s not a man, he’s a Great Horned Owl.  Yes, this girl, who arrived at World Bird Sanctuary with an odd fear of Great Horned Owls from the movie Rock-a-Doodle is thrilled to be working with one.

I overcame my bizarre issues with Great Horned Owls with the help of Carmelita, a beautiful female Great Horned Owl I worked with when I started as a staff member.  My issues with Great Horned Owls aside, I still had issues. 

Then I met Reese, a young male Great Horned Owl that came to us from another facility.  When I picked him up from the airport he was very quiet, sitting a little warily in his crate.  Then on the ride back to the Sanctuary I coughed.  Suddenly there was an explosion of hooting from the back of my car!  I coughed again, and more hoots burst forth.  We hooted back and forth the whole ride back, and as he came out of the crate he sat on a perch and hooted right in front of me.  Clearly the fear of people was not going to be an issue for this bird.

Although Reese was very comfortable around people, he was not a glove bird.  He was never on equipment (the anklets and jesses we use to secure our birds), and had never sat on the glove.  The first time we put him on the glove he did well, sitting for stretches of time even transferring from one glove to another.  Imagine that you are standing on the glove of a giant, which despite the best efforts of the giant may move like a fun house floor.  Sounds a little scary, but Reese was a champ! 
Reese in his training stall
Next we tethered him in a training stall where the perch parallels and is close to the wall, rather than perpendicular it.  This allows him to make the decision whether or not to come to, or at least toward us for food.  When we first put him in the stall, he was great about eating in front of us when we were in the room and right in front of him.  What he wasn’t good about was the glove; he was wary of it at first.  To help him we put a spare glove in his stall, out of the way so that he couldn’t get tangled or hit it if he got scared.  This way he could see the glove in a non-threatening way.  We also made sure to put his food on the glove so he would associate the glove with food.  Over time he began to take food from our glove.

Getting him to step up onto the glove was a little tricky.  In most cases a piece of food is held firmly on top of the glove and a bird will put its foot up to get the leverage to tear or pull food from the glove.  Reese however grabbed the piece in his beak, planted his feet firmly on the ground and pulled as hard as he could, which usually resulted in him scooting backwards and ripping his treat into pieces (Reese’s pieces!).  After some careful maneuvering of the glove and his food we finally got Reese to step up and not over.  Now Reese goes on walks on the glove. 
Reese learning to step to the scale
He is now learning to step up onto the scale and soon he will go outside on a perch.
 Several years ago I never would have dreamed I would be so excited to be training a Great Horned Owl (seriously, watch the movie, that owl is disturbing).  Since that first moment in my car to his patented butt scooting to snag food, everything Reese does reminds me how every training experience is different.  No matter how many birds you have helped to train, there is always something new to learn and see.

Submitted by Leah Tyndall, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mouse-Eye View


We have discussed in this blog, at various times in the past, the amazing adaptations exhibited by the Common Barn Owl—its feathers, its uncanny ability to locate prey by sound, its eyesight, etc.
One of World Bird Sanctuary's resident Barn Owls--Goblin 
Recently a friend forwarded a You Tube link to me that demonstrates, in slow motion,  many of these features of the Barn Owl.  It gives the viewer an astonishing mouse-eye view of what happens when a Barn Owl zeroes in on its prey—the location of the prey using its facial disks to funnel the sound back to its ears, the way the bird manipulates its wing and tail feathers to direct its flight, location of the prey item, and finally the spreading of its talons to grasp the prey. 

Also, at the end of the video when they give the bird its reward (a mouse) note how what appears to be a small beak manages to swallow the mouse whole—amazing!

Click Here  to view this incredible footage. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
  
Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer Photographer

Friday, May 10, 2013

Amazing Animal Encounters Are Back!


Visit World Bird Sanctuary this summer and experience Amazing Animal Encounters!

Ameren Missouri brings you free, family-friendly, fun and education Amazing Animal Encounters at World Bird Sanctuary, all summer long!


Meet Rustle, our Nine-banded Armadillo 
Free, fun, family-friendly environmental education programs are presented by our naturalists, using snakes, parrots, birds and mammals to teach you about the amazing creatures that share our planet, and what we can do to help them survive.

Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Time: Saturdays at 11:30am and 2:00pm; Sundays 1:30pm. 
Admission: Admission and parking is FREE.  No reservations required.

Amazing Animal Encounters are sponsored by Ameren Missouri



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Scout Badges


Scouts – Looking for Somewhere Fun to Work on Your Badge Program?

WBS offers programs to meet the requirements for Boy Scout and Girl Scout Badges.  Programs are available daily between the hours of 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, but must be scheduled in advance. 


The minimum charge is $60.00 which covers up to 10 Scouts or participants.  For additional Scouts or participants add $6.00 per child.  Payment in full is required upon making the registration.  Our calendar fills quickly and space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Cub Scouts can earn:
Tiger:  Earn ½ of a “Tiger Track Bead” or complete Achievement 5
Wolf:  Complete Elective 13 or Achievement 7
Bear:  Complete Achievement 5 or 6
Webelos:  Earn Naturalist Badge or the “Forester” Badge

Girl Scouts:
We are presently working fom the old Badge book, offering:
Brownies:  Earn Animals Badge, Watching Wildlife Badge or Eco Explorer Badge
Juniors:  Earn Your Outdoor Surroundings Badge, Plants and Animals Badge or Earth Connection Badge
Senior/Cadet:  Earn All About Birds Internet Project, Pet Interest Project or Wildlife Interest Project

We hope to have new badge programs and activities to support the new Girl Scout Journeys and Badges available in September 2013


WBS does not provide the actual patches for any of the badge programs.  We will cover the requirements necessary in order to earn the specific badge for which you have scheduled.

A WBS Naturalist will spend approximately 20-40 minutes with the group and then let the Scout Leader guide Scouts through any activities or tasks that are still needed to complete their badge on their own.  Generally a total of about 90 minutes is needed onsite to complete required tasks.

To schedule a Badge Program call 636-225-4390 extension 0.

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator


Monday, May 6, 2013

International Migratory Bird Day 2013


Join the world-wide celebration of birds! 

You're invited to be part of the worldwide celebration of migratory birds at World Bird Sanctuary's International Migratory Bird Day.  Learn about why it is important to protect migratory birds and their migration flyways.  Admission and parking: Free!

Fun activities for everyone!

·       Fun, free children's activities with prizes!
·       Meet naturalists at our bird feeding stations to learn birdwatching and identification tips from the experts!   
·       Bird-banding demonstrations - take a tour to watch our field studies crew catch, band and release migrating birds (small fee for transport to the site)!
·       Keeper talks about the migratory species that call World Bird Sanctuary home.

Important things you need to know

·       Date: Saturday, May 11th
·       Time: 8am - 1pm
·       Admission and Parking is FREE
·       Bring your cameras and binoculars

We hope to see you at WBS for a fun-filled day of learning all about birds!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Arizona: The Christmas Parrot!


What two parrots are/were native to the United States?  If you were thinking of the Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) and the Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha), then you are right! 
Meet Arizona, the Thick-billed Parrot who resides in WBS's Nature Center
Unfortunately, the Carolina Parakeet became extinct in the early 1900’s.  The Thick-billed Parrot is still in existence, but is an endangered species.  In this article I will discuss the natural history of this endangered species and introduce you to Arizona, a Thick-billed Parrot who resides at the World Bird Sanctuary. 

Thick-billed Parrots can only be found in small areas of Arizona and central Mexico.  They live at high altitudes in the conifer forests year round, one of the few parrots of the world that can exist in cold weather.  These parrots have bright green and red plumage (feather color) with a black beak.  They are also known as the Christmas parrot.
This photo shows the Thick-bill's beautiful coloration
Thick-billed Parrots’ diets mainly consists of pine nuts, insects, juniper berries, conifer buds, and some acorns. 

Their mating season is during the summer months.  They generally nest in tree cavities, and their clutch (a group or eggs or chicks) size can range from two to three eggs. The females lay their eggs during June or July and then the eggs normally will take a month before hatching.  Fledging (leaving the nest) will occur after two months of staying in the nest.  Their lifespan in the wild is about 30 years and in captivity 40 to 50 years. 
This photo shows a Thick-bill's relative size
Thick-billed Parrots are small parrots that are about 15 inches long and having a wingspan of about 2.5 feet long.  They only weigh 10 to 13 ounces!  These parrots are very social birds that live in flocks, including eating and roosting together.   These birds can be very loud and be heard from over two miles away! 

If you have ever visited the World Bird Sanctuary’s Nature Center or traveled down the exhibit line at WBS, then chances are you probably spotted the five Thick-bills we have.  This number includes a very special bird--Arizona.

Arizona was hatched in captivity in 1994, making him 19 years old this year.  As a parrot, one of his many great qualities is mimicking sounds, words, or phrases.  Arizona can do just that!  He can say: “Hi, Hi Zona, Good boy?, Good boy!,  Kiss, What-cha-doin’?, Tequila!, and Bye-bye!”.  He seems to love attention and to be talked to by our visitors.  Arizona’s favorite treats are peanuts and pine nuts.  His favorite enrichment toys are his bells and his wooden chew blocks.  I love working with Arizona every day because he always makes me smile and laugh.
How could you not fall in love with this face?
There are less than 2,500 Thick-billed Parrots left in the world today.   They have become endangered because of the illegal pet trade, habitat loss, climate change (hotter temperatures and increasing fire threats that can destroy habitats), and predators like birds of prey.  Thick-billed Parrots were put on the Endangered Species List in 1970 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I hope that having learned a little about these impressive birds you will have the passion to learn more about what you can do to help them.  Become involved with the Sierra Madre Alliance.  This organization helps preserve old-growth forests for Thick-bills and other birds to nest in.  Another way you can help is to support the World Bird Sanctuary by learning about what we do and passing on that information to others.

Arizona is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information, call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

This summer Arizona can be seen at World Bird Sanctuary’s Nature Center, which is open daily from 8am-5pm. 

Arizona is a very amazing little bird that will steal your heart away with just his looks.  You should stop on by and see him!

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist