Archive for the 'Birds' Category



National Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Crista Melchiorre

In celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week, meet Crista Melchiorre, an Aviculturist in our Australia exhibit!

crista melchiorre

How long have you been at the Aquarium?
2 years

What interested you to pursue your current career path?
I have always loved animals. Growing up we always had a variety of pets and I enjoyed finding animals in the woods and my yard. I was that kid who would be brought the sick or orphaned animals in the neighborhood, but usually would have to have my mom take me to a wildlife rehabber to save it.

Briefly describe for us your day-to-day
My day starts with a lot of cleaning and diets and ends with a lot of cleaning and diets. But there is a lot of animal interaction in between, whether its medicating one of the bats, training one of our parrots or getting a brief hello from a green winged dove.

Favorite Aquarium memory?
When we moved our two grey headed flying foxes, Darwin and Victor together. Darwin had very little social interaction with other bats due to a medical condition and he was moved with Victor to give him the opportunity to socialize. We were all nervous about what was going to happen but Darwin is happier than he ever has been!

Next big project you’re working on?
I’ll be focusing on getting our Crested Pigeons to breed.

Favorite animal?
That’s a hard question! I love all the animals I work with obviously but I think there is a tie between Darwin, one of our grey headed flying foxes, he just pulls at everyone’s heart strings. And Hobart, one of our Sulfur Crested Cockatoos, he has a very big personality and loves our attention.

Thanks for celebration Zookeeper Appreciation Week with us! Got a question for our staff? Ask them in the comments section!

Move Over Royal Baby, Puffin Chick Born at National Aquarium!

special announcement national aquarium baltimore

Will and Kate who? At National Aquarium, we’re congratulating puffin parents Victor and Vixen on the birth of their female puffin chick!

puffin chick

This baby is the fourth chick for Victor and Vixen, the parents of  the Aquarium’s first successful puffin chick back in 2006. Puffins co-parent their young and take turns incubating the egg, protecting their nest and carrying back small fish to keep their chick happily fed.

The Aquarium’s new addition hatched on July 4 after an incubation period of approximately 30 days. Our puffins nest in special enclosures created to mimic the deep burrows typically used by their species. In the wild, puffin couples have been observed reuniting at the same burrow site year after year.

puffin chick

Since her birth, the chick has been closely watched by our staff aviculturists. We’re happy to report that the baby is steadily gaining weight and appears to be quite healthy!

puffin chick

The baby puffin will remain within its burrow for 40 or more days before it begins making short exploratory trips into the exhibit.

Stay tuned for more updates on the newest addition to the Aquarium family! 

International Migratory Bird Day!

Today is International Migratory Bird Day

This day celebrates the return of migratory bird species from warmer climates for the summer season! Every year, species like the oriole fly to the tropical rain forests of South America for the winter and return back to North America for the warm summer months.

Oriole

An oriole bird.

There are around 350 species of birds migratory birds that connect the North American region to the tropics. These birds rely on the availability of habitat and ecological networks along their migration routes. As they travel such long distances, migratory species need safe places to feed, rest and breed. Sadly, deforestation and habitat degradation are limiting the access these animals have to such crucial resources – posing a real threat to the survival of many birds during this demanding trip.

Want to see what kind of impact deforestation has had over time in the Amazon? Check out this interactive timelapse project from Google.

By helping to conserve the rain forest and creating safe wildlife habitats in your own backyard, you can help curb this unfortunate trend.

Migratory birds in our area? 

The Chesapeake Bay watershed plays an important role in the survival of one migratory bird species in particular, the red knot. Horseshoe crab spawning along the Delaware Bay provides a crucial food source for red knots. As these birds are making the long trip from Chile all the way up to the Artic, they stop in the Delaware Bay to feed on horseshoe crab eggs. This fuel stop is crucial to the success of their continued journey. You can experience this magnificent sight this weekend!

How YOU can celebrate Migratory Bird Day! 

  • Keep a clean bird seed feeder in your yard. Dirty bird feeders and bird baths can spread disease. Disinfected feeders and baths can make your area a great resting spot for these birds.
  • Leave baby birds where you find them and protect any birds from pets! Fledgings may spend several days on the ground after they leave the nest before they are able to fly. Keeping people and pets away is crucial to letting their parents continue to care for them properly.
  • Buy bird-friendly products. Help preserve migratory and native bird habitat in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean by purchasing shade-grown coffee and chocolate.
  • Plant a native garden! Native plants provide food, nest sites and cover for birds.

Are you enjoying nature this weekend? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page or using #NAnaturelove. 

Animal Updates – April 19

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Amazon Tree Boa on exhibit! 

Our juvenile Amazon tree boa has been very active on exhibit lately!

amazon tree boa

Adult Amazon tree boas can reach up to 6.5 feet in length. Found throughout South America, this species of tree boa is a nocturnal predator. Currently in its juvenile “yellow phase,” these snakes change color once they reach adulthood.

animal update

Silver-beaked Tanagers on exhibit! 

Six silver-beaked tanagers are now on exhibit in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest! These tanagers are well-known for their deep crimson hue and striking beak.

silver beaked tanager

The silver-beaked tanager ranges from Colombia to Bolivia and along the east coast including Brazil, Paraguay and as far south as Argentina. Although this species is not currently listed as threatened, the destruction of their habitat for industrial/agricultural gain could put them at risk in the near future.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Updates – April 12

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Recapped Cardinals on exhibit! 

We have a pair of redcapped cardinals now on exhibit in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest!

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Similar to the well-known American Cardinal, this South American bird is a type of finch! Redcapped cardinals use their strong beaks for cracking seeds and sturdy legs for perching.

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Redcapped cardinals have surprisingly large feet, which allow them to walk steadily on floating vegetation as they feed in the mangrove swamps. Like many other finches, these songbirds have a beautiful call!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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