The Utica Zoo – along with many other AZA facilities around the globe – have the primary goal of conservation. To achieve this, AZA zoos participate in a program called SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction). This program seeks to conserve endangered animals through monitoring threatened species, coordinating AZA institutions, implementing recovery plans, informing the public about the mission, and then – with time – restoring the population of these animals and then reintroducing them into the wild.

The Utica Zoo participates in the specific SAFE program called Songbird SAFE. This program works to reduce threats to North American songbirds through education and conservation efforts. The primary threats to songbirds – as well as many other birds – are as follows:

Outdoor Cats: Cats have contributed to the extinction of 40 bird species in the wild since 1500. In the United States and Canada, an estimated 2.4 billion and 200 million birds are killed by cats every year respectively. Outdoor cats also indirectly effect birds through competition, fear, and disease transmission such as toxoplasmosis.

Collision with Man-Made Objects: According to the American Bird Conservancy, up to 1 billion birds are killed by collisions with glass in the United States each year. Additionally, birds are occasionally killed by wind turbines, communications towers, power lines, and other man-made objects around their environment.

Illegal Trade: In order to keep up with the demand for exotic bird pets, birds are either forcibly captured in the wild or bred in inhumane conditions for future sale. Most birds don’t become domesticated even after being bred in captivity and many – due to their need for a considerable amount of attention to stay healthy – become neglected. Occasionally, these birds may end up being released into the wild for them to either die or disrupt the local, native habitat.

Pollution and Habitat Loss: As human expansion continues, the removal of native habitats can lead to a massive disruption in various ecosystems. Whether forests are torn down for housing, marshland is drained for construction, non-native plants are introduced into local gardens, non-native birds are released into the wild accidently or otherwise, and pollution from daily human activities occurs, local wildlife can be dramatically disrupted. This disruption can then lead to the decline in bird populations and – in worse case scenarios – the extinction of some species.

So you may be wondering how you can help the Utica Zoo and other AZA facilities protect threatened birds! Well, to get you started here are a few things that you can do right at home:

  1. Avoid using single use plastics
  2. Recycle
  3. Only purchase birds from reputable breeders
  4. Join the AZA in using bird-friendly windows and building designs
  5. Prevent your domestic cats from hunting local songbirds
  6. Follow and support AZA facilities in their mission to protect and conserve endangered species around the world

Below you will find a list of the birds that we house at the Utica Zoo. And while some of these birds are more endangered than others, it is important to know about and appreciate all of them so that they can stay in our world for a very long time. For each bird we have provided a Species Status to help inform you as to where they are on the endangered spectrum. The statuses include:

DOMESTICATED: A species that has been bred or has adapted to live alongside humans and is not considered to be threatened or endangered.

LEAST CONCERN: A species that is not considered to be threatened or endangered in the wild.

VULNERABLE: A species that is considered to be at a high risk of extinction in the wild.

ENDANGERED: A species that is considered to be at a VERY high risk of extinction in the wild.

Birds on Exhibit:

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Ostrich: Boomer (born 1999)

Species Status:VULNERABLE

Our Cranes: Creamy (born 5/23/81) & Peaches (born 6/2/02)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Emus: Didgeri (born 2006) & Doo (born 2006)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Eagles: Ginger (born 1996) & Spirit (born 2003) & Colden (born 2005)

Species Status: DOMESTICATED

Our Chickens:Numerous!

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Owls: Ollie (born 7/2/03) & Squiggles (born 5/13/12)


Ambassador/Education Birds:

Book a Birthday Party, ZooMobile, or Ambassador Animal Encounter for a chance to see these birds!

Species Status: DOMESTICATED

Our Chicken: Poe (born 3/19/12)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Ducks: Mallary (born 6/24/20) & Tagalong (born 7/11/20)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Merlin:Tyrion (born 2013)

Species Status: VULNERABLE

Our Cockatoo:Polly (born est. 1950)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Owls: Rusty (born 2019) & Pitch (born 2019)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Owl:Grace (born est. 2004)

Species Status: LEAST CONCERN

Our Hawks: Frieda (born 1999) & Tabitha (born 2018)

Species Status: ENDANGERED

Our Macaw:Joe (born 10/3/93)