“The past year, the Bird House team navigated challenges from COVID-19, highly pathogenic avian influenza and construction delays. They continued to care for a growing collection of North American songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl while successfully managing a living collection in an active construction zone. Through it all, our team has been outstanding, professional and resilient. We are building a collection unlike any in the world and are embracing our uniqueness as leaders in the management of North American birds in human care. I am extremely proud of our team and all that we are doing to champion and advance native bird conservation. I can’t wait for guests to see the new Bird House and meet the amazing people who care for our birds!” --Sara Hallager, curator, Bird House
“One of our Asian elephants, Swarna, needed to have her lower right molar extracted under anesthesia. It was a massive collaboration, and everything depended on keepers Becca Spickler and Becky Riley, who conditioned Swarna to calmly accept the restraints and rigging necessary for the procedure. The restraints ensured that, when Swarna was sedated, our team could guide her to lay down in the correct position. Swarna stood by calmly for countless training sessions. She behaved equally well for the actual event.
“For this procedure, the stakes were high. An entire team and a truckload of supplies traveled across the country to perform the tooth extraction. Becky and Becca were calm and proficient, even when the pressure was on. They exemplify the caring concern of keepers for their animals. Without training, this necessary medical event would have been incredibly stressful for Swarna. Because she was well-prepared by Becca and Becky, Swarna was calm and happily munched food until she quietly fell asleep. The elephant team was able to position her as she lay down for the dental specialists from Colyer Institute to work effectively.”— Marie Galloway, elephant manager, Elephant Trails