an ibis recovered near its enclosure

On the ramparts of the Citadel, a Scarlet Ibis walks quietly on top of the fortifications. He enjoys the sun while observing the landscape. Above him, no net, no wall. Visitors are not dreaming: this Latin American wading bird is on the loose. Since Friday, he took advantage of a gust of wind and the opening of a hatch to pack up with five other of his congeners. A Pink Spoonbill and a Bernier’s Teal also took advantage of this backdoor. Eight birds which, for the most part, are now trying to return to their enclosure.

Caregivers worked over the weekend to create an “aviary within an aviary” and allow them a safe return home.

It all started overnight from Thursday to Friday as explained by the site director, Alexandre Arnodo. “There were strong winds. The Citadel is a site at height and we are particularly affected by these gusts. One of the gates where the birds were was opened. On Friday, when the healers took up their post, they noticed that eight of them were missing.

“Easy” targets for raptors

Among these fugitives, therefore: six scarlet ibises, a pink spoonbill and a Bernier’s teal. “The first two species are from Latin America and the last from Madagascar”, continues Margaux Pizzo, director of the zoological park. From then on, the park teams informed the residents of Besançon by press release and messages on social networks. “We had a lot of more or less usable testimonies, because they are very mobile and sometimes perch high up. »

In recent hours, scarlet ibises have posted themselves near their enclosure. “It is a gregarious species that will seek contact with its other congeners. At the moment they come close. We were able to recover one. Regarding the pink spoonbill, it was seen near Chalèze. She was being chased by birds of prey. A source of concern for zoo teams. “These are exotic birds that can find food and survive in these temperatures. On the other hand, they could be fairly easy targets for the sparrowhawk, the eagle-owl or the falcons which nest near the Citadel”, insists the site director.

An “aviary within an aviary”

In an attempt to promote a stress-free return, the keepers have created an “aviary within the aviary”. “My colleagues have set up a space for them where they can come and go into their enclosure. As soon as the work is finished, we will reopen the aviary to the other ibises, and this may encourage them to come,” explains Margaux Pizzo. For the good of the birds and in order to ensure the work, the zoological park was closed to the public this Sunday, April 10.

At this point, “only one bird could be recovered”, but the majority of them remained in the vicinity of the historic site. The zoo teams will continue their work in the coming days and hope to be able to bring back as many of these birds, born in captivity, as possible.

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