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14.06.2012 14:48 Age: 7 yrs

Meet Yerevan Zoo's Caretakers (1): The Bird Department

Yerevan Zoo has around 350 bird species, like for example the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), the Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), the Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) and many others.

Nearly all of the bird species, living in the zoo, are quite capricious and require special care, keen attention, diet and climate conditions. There are five staff members who are in charge of taking care of the big and diverse family of birds, living in the zoo. Donara Khachatryan has been working in the zoo for 38 years. She is the head of the birds section. Donara loves all the birds, however, has a special loving attitude towards the peacock and the ostrich. She says that any bird species has its unique, special care requirements. Surprisingly, birds, imported from abroad adapt themselves to the climatic conditions of Armenia, thanks to the professionalism of the zoo staff members, who even stay on night duties, if needed.

Donara Khachatryan adds that their job is to some extent similar to scientific research. “Working with our flying friends, it is impossible to avoid unforeseen and curious incidents”, Donara says. She recalls the escape of the partridge who returned to the zoo next year. The bird had escaped from the zoo and returned back. Supposing that the bird would not fly away from its family, the staff members had not cut its wings.

In comparison to this “excentric” partridge swans are relatively quiet. The white baby swans are one month old now. Donara observes that they are very much connected to their family and are bonded with affection towards each other.                 

Unlike Donara Khachatryan, Asya Hovhannisyan’s work experience counts just four years. Asya takes care of the birds and easily interacts with all of them, except the Silver Pheasant. She also recalls an interesting story with the ducks, which were born without her knowing. Three of the ducklings stayed with their mother and the other three had somehow appeared in the bear’s enclosure. When the ducklings were returned to their mother, they were afraid that the mother would not accept them. However, seeing the ducklings, the mother approached immediately and took them under protection.

Among the birds, Asya Hovhannisyan loves very much the colored peacock.

The job of the zoo keepers in the birds department is quite difficult, because sometimes birds suddenly “decide” to leave their area. This was the case with the female Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos). Different measures were taken to get the bird back to the zoo. First, the male bird was placed in the same cage. However, it did not attract the female pheasant. It took the staff members several hours until they finally managed to get the female bird back to her home. 


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