All About the Birds

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When you work with the sun bears, you also work with the birds. The team is called Birds and Bears, and I know I’ve said before, but it was one of my favorites.

Honestly though….who wouldn’t want to work with beautiful birds and incredibly cute bears all day?   

I personally have never wanted to own a bird. Of course they are nice to look at, but I always feel bad for “domesticated” birds. They are meant to fly. They were given a freedom humans could only dream of having yet we put them in a small cage for our enjoyment. It just never seemed right to me.

Tasikoki has hundreds of birds that were rescued from that very fate. They are still in aviaries at the rescue center, but it’s a far cry from anything they would have gotten in your average household.

And there is always the possibility of release for some of the birds at Tasikoki!

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Cockatoos and Lories

Cockatoos and Lories take up most of the space in the bird aviaries.

There are 21 different species of cockatoo and some of them can bring in an upwards of $50,000 per bird! Crazy right!?

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They are so smart, and most people who buy a cockatoo as a pet do not have any idea what they are getting into. They need a lot of attention and enrichment.

They don’t just sit there all day that’s for sure. When they get bored, they tend to scream and pull their own feathers out. Ever heard a cockatoo scream?

I don’t recommend it!

lories

Lories are also a popular household bird due to their colorful feathers.

Tasikoki rescued hundreds of lories from a trader that had clipped their wings to make them flightless. They have been working hard to restore flight in the birds, so hopefully the lories will be able to be set free.

Making Enrichments

Tasikoki wants to make sure the birds are given enrichment a couple of times throughout the day.

For someone who has a pet cockatoo, they might put toys in the cage for their bird to play with, but Tasikoki wants to keep there environment as natural as possible, so we make organic enrichments for them every day.

Part of the mornings are spent wandering around the center looking for seedpods, berries, flowers, pretty much anything we can use to make enrichments for the birds.

For the lories, we usually mash up any left over fruit from either the volunteer house or scraps left around at the enrichment house. Then ice cubes of the mashed up fruit mixture are made to place on top of the aviaries later that day.

If there is a shortage on fruit, we might just gather up flowers that have fallen from the trees or pick some fern leaves and spray them with honey water. The lories love their sweets and the honey water is a nice refreshing treat for them on a hot day……which is every day when you are located in North Sulawesi!

cockies

The cockatoos are a little more challenging to make enrichment for. They need a bit of a puzzle to keep them from getting bored.

Seed pods and peanuts are always a good go to since they have to figure out how to crack them open to get to the special treat inside.

A flour paste mixed with a nice array of seeds and corn kernels is good staple recipe for ice cubes. Sometimes this mixture would be placed in bean pods or small bamboo sticks to create more of a challenge.

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Other Birds

Tasikoki also has other rescued birds in their center. There are some geese and a few fishing eagles, but my all time favorite is the cassowary!

I have been obsessed with this bird for the longest time, but have never actually had the chance to see one……until now of course!

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Years ago I went on an excursion in Northern Australia near Cairns hoping to catch a glimpse of a cassowary, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They are so rare with a little over a 1000 still in existence in Australia.

Tasikoki has just under a dozen of these prehistoric looking birds.

Every time I walked past the different cassowary enclosures, I had to stop and watch them. They are just so fascinating!

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The theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds has a strong argument when looking at a cassowary. Their faces look very similar to a raptor and they have 3 giant claws on their feet that can slice open a person with one swipe! Seriously watch a video of a cassowary and then think about the raptors in Jurassic Park. You’ll see it.

I’m going to miss walking past the cassowary enclosures and hearing them sound off with their low rumble.

Maybe someday I will get to see one in the wild, buuuuuutttt I hope it’s from a safe distance.

 

Have you had any experience working with birds? What bird is your favorite? Please tell us about it in the comments below.

If you love birds and would like to help stop the illegal wildlife trade, check out Tasikoki’s website for more info on how you can donate or sign up to volunteer at the center.

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