The OKC Zoo’s bird department is excited about its newest project starting this Fall - the renovation of the Dan Moran Aviary. After the annual Haunt the Zoo event on October 31, we will be closing the aviary and all of the birds will be moved off exhibit for the internal renovation. Thanks to the support of the Dan Moran family, we will change the aviary from one single exhibit where the birds moved throughout the building into four distinct exhibits allowing us to better provide for the unique needs of each species. Once the aviary is reconfigured, we’ll be better able to accommodate an even more diverse collection of birds.
For the last year the bird team here at the OKC Zoo has been researching different bird species and collaborating with our colleagues at other zoos to determine which birds can be exhibited together. One of the things we have to take into consideration is the temperament of each type of bird. Just like people, different bird species vary in behavior. Some species are naturally more aggressive and some more passive. We also need to think about what the natural habitat is for each species. Some species like tanagers and crested wood partridges require an exhibit which is more heavily planted, so that it provides adequate cover. Other species like gold breasted starlings and white headed buffalo weavers like a more open space so they can see at a distance. Thought also goes into what the nutritional requirements are for each type of bird. Each species requires specific types of foods to stay healthy. Species like aracaris (small toucans) need a low iron diet, so they cannot be housed with birds that require meat in their diet. We carefully consider all of these variables to create a collection plan that ensures all species will be safely housed together.
The Dan Moran aviary renovation should be complete and open to the public by early Spring 2017 in time for the zoo’s new season of visitors!
– Eddie Witte, zoological manager of birds