Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New birds: An Elegant Egret & A Dashing Duck

Two new birds are waiting to greet Tennessee Aquarium guests. A beautiful snowy egret can be seen in the Delta Swamp exhibit. According to Kevin Calhoon, the Aquarium's assistant curator of forests, this bird species tends to be very calm, cool and collected. "We are excited to have this bird which is probably the most laid back, elegant and graceful of the North American herons and egrets," said Calhoon. This particular snowy egret might be glad to be alive. It was donated to the Aquarium by Sea World of Orlando. It had a severe right wing injury when it was first discovered. Veterinarians had to amputate that wing due to the severity of the injuries. Today this bird is doing great, but could not be reintroduced to the wild without the ability to fly. In the wild, snowy egrets stand out from the crowd with their black legs and bright yellow feet. They can also be quite vocal when defending their territory. You can hear this vocalization on the Cornell Lab or Ornithology web site.
After visiting the snowy egret in the Delta Swamp, look for another marvelous bird in the Rivers of the World Gallery. A new male Mandarin duck can be viewed in the Nishikigoi exhibit. He's a striking bird with stunning plumage. Calhoon says this duck came from a waterfowl breeder and was hatched last spring. Which means he's young and full of energy. 
He can be seen with a female Mandarin duck who has been at the Tennessee Aquarium since 2004. "She is around eight years old," said Calhoon. "But she seems to be holding her own with the sudden appearance of this dashing young male."

If you'd like to hear a Mandarin duck vocalizing, check out this audio clip on the BBC Nature website.

We invite you to slow down on your next visit to do a little bird watching at the Tennessee Aquarium. Bring your binoculars to view 50 native songbirds in the Cove Forest exhibit - like scarlet tanagers.

Then get up close to additional birds throughout both River Journey and Ocean Journey. We also offer some entertaining and educational bird shows throughout the day in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari.

And of course, you want to spend plenty of time with our penguins!

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