Spring Courting Behaviors in Avian Ambassadors

As spring arrives, our Avian Ambassadors are embracing the season with courting and nesting activities. Gus the Golden Eagle, a beloved figure among our staff and volunteers, is renowned for his annual courting rituals. Reflecting the behaviors of his wild counterparts, Gus engages in a range of courting behaviors such as vocalizing, presenting food, carrying sticks, and even playful chasing.

Despite being unable to perform the intricate aerial displays seen in the wild, Gus demonstrates his natural instincts with remarkable fidelity. This year, he surprised us with a new behavior: nesting. During his enrichment time in the hallway, Gus has taken to incubating pucks placed in slots meant for perches. Spending considerable time on each puck, sometimes up to an hour, he even mimics the action of rolling eggs with his beak.

Having been in human care since a young age, Gus’s display of nesting behavior is a testament to his comfort in his environment. While we know these pucks won’t hatch, witnessing Gus’s adaptation to this role is truly delightful. In the wild, nesting Golden Eagle pairs share the duty of egg incubation, typically lasting around 42 days. As Gus embarks on this behavior for the first time, we eagerly anticipate how long it will persist.

This fascinating episode underscores the wild nature inherent in our Avian Ambassadors, even within the confines of human care. It’s a reminder of the incredible behaviors these majestic creatures are capable of, enriching our lives with every display.

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