The Turtle Farm is getting some new feathered friends as its bird breeding season gets under way.
“We have many birds breeding in the park’s Caribbean Aviary right now,” said Turtle Farm terrestrial exhibits curator Geddes Hislop. “We are counting eggs and closed-banding our white-crowned pigeon chicks in anticipation of releasing into the wild a bumper crop of captive-bred birds later in the summer.”
Young parrots are also expected to make an appearance in a few weeks.
“Our veteran breeder pair of Cayman parrots, Sweetpea and Leo, are currently sitting on eggs that were laid two weeks ago. Their chicks will also be part of our ongoing wild release program, but they mature much more slowly than the other birds so we normally release them between nine and 12 months old,” said Mr. Hislop.
He noted that the farm’s more recently paired breeder parrots, Rosie and Ralph, showed bonding behavior but did breed this year.
“Hopefully, they will actually breed in next year’s 2017 season,” said Mr. Hislop.
Visitors to the Caribbean Aviary also have the opportunity to learn about all kinds of colorful and interesting birds from Cayman and the Caribbean and participate in bird feeding.
Each quarter, the money raised from selling bird food at the aviary for guests to hand feed the birds is donated to an environmental cause.
The nearly $1,500 raised between January and March was donated to the Department of Environment’s used fishing line recycling program, the second donation to the project.
Kids can also take part in an educational aviary bird treasure hunt for prizes.
Hand feeding the birds and keeper talks, available on request, take place Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Turtle Farm is also home to six peafowl who inhabit Peacock Islands, two of the three islands in the Saltwater Lagoon. The peacocks, Big Blue and Snowflake – an unusual white peacock – remain on their respective islands, but the four peahens go back and forth between the two peafowl and are trained to return to their home islands.
Throughout June, the Turtle Farm is offering an end-of-term summer special to all Cayman schools for an educational tour, and lunch for all students and teachers in the school group, as well as for adult chaperones.
All students and teachers in a school group will enter free with purchase of a pre-ordered group lunch from the park’s Schooners Restaurant.
Email [email protected] for more information.