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Sooty Tern nesting on Lord Howe Island

Spring is upon us, and as birdos, we are very excited to see the arrival of the summer migrants to the island.  The skies, trees, and ground are starting to fill with species of tern, shearwater, and tropic bird, to name a few,  that come here each year to nest.  We are hopeful that we will be able to see some hatchlings before our time here is done!

This past week we had a changing of the guard as Michael headed home and we welcomed Emily, another of Taronga Zoo's bird keepers.  Emily has quickly settled into the routine with the birds and is enjoying exploring the island.  

The birds in our care continue to thrive and thanks to the help from our dedicated zoo vet and nutritionist adjusting the proportions of the diet, the woodhen weight gains, mentioned in a previous blog, are now starting to creep back down to their capture weights.  I wish I could say the same about yours truly...we've eaten too well the last couple months!  The currawongs are also doing well and we continue to provide them with items they can investigate to stimulate their natural behaviours..  Just this week, small potted palms were put into their aviaries and the  birds spent time pulling palms out of pots and placing them in various spots around their enclosures.  A couple were also observed piling the empty pots together.

Mutton Bird Point, Lord Howe Island

Being on the island has also afforded us some amazing opportunities outside of our project as well.  I was fortunate enough to spend a day working with a researcher studying Masked Boobies.  We hiked (and scrambled) out to a restricted part of the island where the birds were nesting and spent the day sitting amongst nesting boobies, collecting samples of fish from the birds for nutritional analysis and retrieving GPS and camera equipment from  a couple of the birds.  Absolutely amazing!  

Masked Booby and chick on Lord Howe Island

Just last week, Emily and I were also able to go to on a bird watching trip 25kms off the island to Ball's Pyramid with a local naturalist and bird expert.  It was a great trip and a treat to view the unique rocky outcropping up close.   Being subject to motion sickness, we were even happier that we both kept our lunches in our bellies!

Emily, Christian, and I have three weeks left on this little slice of paradise and we are intending to make the most of it!  Whether it be fishing, hiking, bird watching, or lounging at the beach we will pack it all in before we say goodbye.  Till next time...

Bird Keeper, Sprina 

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