Keepers at Birdland are making use of treat-filled pumpkins to provide environmental enrichment as part of their ‘Trick or Tweet Weeks’ Halloween half term event (Saturday 21st October – Sunday 5th November).
Visitors can watch a selection of the Bourton-on-the-Water’s smartest birds demonstrate their foraging skills in a series of daily talks.
Keepers will be hiding a variety of creepy crawlies inside pumpkins to see how different species use their intellect and dexterity to forage for food.
Among avian residents facing the daily pumpkin challenge will be cassowaries, one of the largest birds on the planet, super-smart Kiwi parrot the kea, high-brow hornbills, and clever bird of prey the striated carcara.
“Environmental enrichment provides stimulation for our birds and encourages them to use natural behaviours to solve challenges,” said Head Keeper Alistair Keen.
“By hiding live food such as crickets or locust inside pumpkins, it means the birds have to forage to get to their food.
“For example, the hornbills will use their powerful beaks to break into the pumpkin to feed, just as they would bash at hollow logs or stumps in the wild looking for grubs and beetles to feed on,” he added.
As part of Birdland’s ‘Shriek Week’ celebrations visitors can also discover why owls are considered to be so wise; where the legend of the phoenix came from; and find out which bird call the Romans believed to mean imminent death.
As well as the special Keeper Talks, there’s a family-friendly Pumpkin Trail around the gardens.
With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from the UK’s only colony of king penguins and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.