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Random Notes From An Aquarium Volunteer

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Thursday, August 28, 2008


This week’s blog is just some quick random notes from my wanderings around the Aquarium.

I have to admit that I am always impressed by the folks that care for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s birds that inhabit the Lorikeet Forest exhibit. Why? Even though there are over a hundred birds under their care, these folks can look at an individual lorikeet and call them each by name. Yes, each bird has his or her own name and aviculturalists like Cara and Teri can recognize each one and know their life histories and personalities. And with so many birds to name, some of their monikers can be quite interesting like Booger, Tulip, Zeus, Smooch, Mothra, Bug, and Rocky 2.

On a typical shift, a husbandry volunteer can put over 7 miles of walking while pursuing their duties. How do I know this? I wore a pedometer during one of my shifts and was amazed to see that I had put in nearly 8 miles running between the exhibits, food prep room and husbandry office. Sure beats sitting on the couch on a Saturday watching television.

Milo the sea lion has a huge exhibit to swim around in yet he likes to spend time in the water of a tiny tub that we place on the deck for enrichment. He particularly likes it when a hose is on, shooting water into the tub. Its like he has his own personal Jacuzzi.

The round observation window near the seal and sea lion tunnel is a favorite hangout for Odin, Milo and Harpo the sea lions during the morning hours. They also like to interact with visitor while there. Its a nice place to spend some underwater time with a sea lion while staying dry yourself.

In the early morning, a wild Great Blue heron sometimes likes to hang around the seal and sea lion exhibit while a wild Coopers Hawk occasionally terrorizes the pigeons near Shark Lagoon. If you’re a bird watcher you can sometimes add to your life list by just hanging around the Aquarium.

I’m currently training Shelby the harbor seal to do a “shark” behavior where she raises her flipper out of the water while she swims, simulating a dorsal fin knifing through the water. Cue the “Jaws” theme.

If you haven’t seen the pinnipeds for awhile, now’s a great time to see them. The sea lions and seals are finally over their summer molt and look great in their new coats. Its also kind of neat to run your fingers through the seal coats. To paraphrase Charlie Brown: Happiness is a fuzzy seal.

Random Notes From An Aquarium Volunteer
Aviculturists like Cara can recognize the Aquarium's over 100 lorikeets by name.  | Hugh Ryono
Random Notes From An Aquarium Volunteer
The round viewing port is a favorite hangout for the Aquarium's younger sea lions.  | Hugh Ryono
Random Notes From An Aquarium Volunteer
In the course of a day, a husbandry volunteer can put nearly 8 miles of walking in during a shift. Some of the miles coming in the exhibits with the critters.

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