The Tennessee Aquarium's North American river otters tend to, "steal the show" when guests enter the Cove Forest exhibit. But we always encourage people to slow down and spend some time in this living forest.
Hidden amongst the vegetation are numerous native songbirds happily going about their business. Aviculturists discovered two bluebird nests this week.
Both are rather well-concealed. The Eastern bluebird chicks in these photos are in one of the nests. These babies are from a "proven pair" of birds that have given the Aquarium several offspring each of the past few years.
This particular female usually lays two or three clutches each year. However, once autumn arrives, aviculturists will attempt to catch the juveniles and move them off-exhibit. This must be done before the next spring to ensure genetic diversity is maintained. The youngsters are either placed on exhibit in another location at the Aquarium or are shared with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions.