The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Keeper Aide: Bird House

  • flamingo sitting in grass

The Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is home to a large variety of birds. With the Bird House currently closed for renovations, keeper aides will be sent to several locations across the Zoo where birds are currently being housed, including the Bird House. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff clean exhibits, floors and dishes, prepare food, make enrichment items, and assist with other tasks as needed.

Volunteers must be able to commit to one day per week for a minimum of one year or two days per week for a minimum of six months. Shifts are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (in some cases, shifts end at 12 p.m.). 

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects. An interest in avian husbandry and behavior is preferred but not required. There is a no contact policy with the birds.


Once provisionally accepted, volunteers must complete mandatory online orientation and training. Additional training will be provided on the job. There is a probationary period for all keeper aides.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's health unit.

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