A Moluccan cockatoo at Zoomarine.
Zoomarine, located in Algarve Portugal, combines animal encounters and amusement park aspects to provide a great day out. It is open from March through October, and one of its main goals is to educate their visitors through well-designed and entertaining shows and experiences.
“We go to great lengths to ensure our guests not only learn about these animals,?said Miguel Santos, head of the bird department at Zoomarine. “But most importantly, that they create a connection that will hopefully inspire them to actively protect the natural world, and contribute to the conservation of the species we share this planet with.?lt;/span>
Santos has been working with birds for 14 years and says he is very fortunate to work with number of different birds. When asked what is his favorite bird species to work with he replied, “It? so hard to name just one ?I guess it? like asking a parent what? his favorite child.?lt;/span>
Currently Zoomarine offers two types of bird shows. “Wings of the World?is a mixed species bird show, which evolved from a more traditional bird of prey show, and now includes not only a variety of raptors (hawks, falcons, caracara, owls and kites) but also birds like hornbills, white storks, marabous, seriemas, pied crow, sacred ibises and crowned cranes.
“In this fast paced and interactive show, people can have birds flying inches over their heads or soaring a few hundred feet in the air which is always a great sight,?Santos said.
“Flying Colors?is the parks free-flight parrot show, where they focus on the bird? natural behaviors, while educating visitors on the problems that this group of birds faces in the wild, and the challenges of having them as companion pets.
“This has been a really cool show to produce since there? some video and stage design technology involved, which has been an interesting challenge for my ?echie?side,?Santos said. “But it definitely adds to the show and does a great job in helping us reinforce the message to our audience.?lt;/span>
He added, “A big part of this show is also focused on our partnership with the World Parrot Trust, and through the show we promote the sale of WPT’s ?ly Free?wristbands available in our shops to support WPT? projects on parrot conservation in the wild, which is also a big part of Zoomarine? core mission.?
Besides the bird show, Zoomarine also has a walkthrough aviary called “Americas?were guests can get up and personal with 18 different species of birds from the American continent.
“Being a bird trainer at heart, this project has been very interesting and a great learning experience. Our background as trainers have been really helpful in creating a better guest experience and I look forward to seeing this dynamic habitat grow and evolve for the next few years,?Santos said.
At the “Wings of the World?show one crowd pleaser are the marabou storks, most likely due to their size. “Every time one flies on stage, the audience goes ?ow,? Santos said.
The final flock to fly around the show consists of a group of sacred ibises, black kites, white storks and crowned cranes, which gives Santos goosebumps every time he sees them all up in the air.
A marabou stock at the “Wings of the World” Zoomarine show.
At the “Flying Colors?show, one of the highlights is Jimpy, the Moluccan cockatoo. “Jimpy? routine, which won the 2014 International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators ?how Behavior of the Year?Award, is a chain of several behaviors throughout the stage which always impresses people. “To top that off Jimpy? funny walk on stage always brings out a laugh,?Santos said.
“We try to incorporate as much audience interaction as possible, so we have a few volunteering opportunities for those who want a closer experience, on top of having birds flying close/over the audience in both shows,?he added.
In addition to the bird shows a walkthrough aviary provides guests the opportunity to feed scarlet ibises, glossy ibises and cattle egrets throughout the day, and to be a part of “Quaker Fun,?a feeding program where visitors can join trainers and feed quaker parrots (also known as monk parakeets), blue-crowned conures and white-fronted Amazons while learning a bit more about them.
I? excited to add Portugal on my bucket list of places to experience fascinating birds and bird show.
Want to travel some more? Check out these places!
#TravelTuesday: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
#TravelTuesday: Avian Behavior International
#TravelTuesday: Encounter A World Of Birds At Tracy Aviary
#TravelTuesday: Paradise Wildlife Park
#TravelTuesday: Meet Prairie Chickens, Parrots & Pelicans At Caldwell Zoo
#TravelTuesday: Head To Mexico & Visit Xcaret Park
#TravelTuesday: Woodland Park Zoo & Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium