Bird Welfare in Zoos and Aquariums: General Insights across Industries

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Appeared May 2022
Published in Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens

Miami Dragonfly alum Adrienne Eyer was invited to contribute to an article led by Joceyln Woods (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Lance Miller (Chicago Zoological Society). Congrats to the team whose manuscript, Bird Welfare in Zoos and Aquariums: General Insights Across Industries, was published by the Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

It’s a qualitative literature review synthesizing information from zoos, agriculture, laboratories and companion animal literature with the intent of creating a broad review as a reference for avian welfare professionals. The initial search yielded over 3,600 publications that ultimately resulted in 277 articles being referenced in the review. The information and recommendations for future research are organized around nine inputs key to an individual’s welfare: housing, substrate and flooring, lighting, sound environment, environmental enrichment, social management, human–bird interactions and relationships, genetics, and nutrition. While it seems like a lot of articles to review in the various categories, it pales in comparison to mammals and highlights the need for species-specific research for professionally managed birds at every stage of life.

Eyer earned a Master of Arts (MA) in the biological sciences from Miami University through Project Dragonfly’s Advanced Inquiry Program while working as a consultant in Chicago, Ill. As an AIP student, Eyer took Miami University web-based classes and explored Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo and its facilities. In addition to being an MA graduate, Eyer is currently interning in the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.